Reporting Susanna Song
Filed underHeard on WBBM 780, Local, NATO Summit, News, Seen on CBS 2, Syndicated Local, Watch + Listen
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CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Police are already out in force as the NATO Summit approaches, and they will be getting a lot of help from all over the country.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, Chicago Police will get help from out of state agencies, which include Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Charlotte, N.C.
Also, several hundred Illinois State troopers will be helping out this weekend.
They will all be under the command and rules of Chicago Police.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports
Meantime, the Police Department is also taking steps to keep more of its own officers on the streets in the neighborhoods, as well as handling security for the summit.
Starting in the wee hours of Friday morning, Chicago police officers will begin working longer hours to handle the NATO summit at McCormick Place, and the demonstrations against it.
“We’re going to 12-hour tours, and cancelling days off,” McCarthy said. “As a result of that, that frees up about one-third of the department to deal with the [summit.]”
The superintendent said none of that means the neighborhoods will be neglected.
“This actually results in a 15 percent increase in the number of officers assigned in the neighborhoods,” he said. “So, the same officers who would do an 8-hour tour are now going to be doing a 12-hour tour, in the same districts that they’re working in today.”
He says his officers are not coming out in helmets and riot gear, and such items will not be used unless absolutely necessary.
“There are people who are intent to come and commit crimes, and our expectation is that we’re going to arrest those folks and protect and facilitate the marches and speeches that other people want to do,” McCarthy said.
He declined to say whether his department or its partner agencies have identified specific individuals or groups intent on causing trouble as world leaders meet at McCormick Place.
“We are doing everything we can to ensure that we facilitate the public safety. Some of those methods are covert right now and I can’t talk about them,” McCarthy says.
Some of the protesters authorities will monitor are those dressed in black from head to toe, with bandanas covering their faces — the unofficial uniform of those with a history of violence at past international gatherings.
McCarthy says he plans to employ a strategy based on surgical strikes rather than massive force. He says putting up the “right front” and dealing with protesters in a low-key way will encourage demonstrators to likewise be peaceful toward officers.
“You’re not going to see police charging wholesale into a crowd, you’re not going to see tear gas,” McCarthy says.
He says his department is not interested in dispersing crowds, but he wants officers to be able to “extract people who need to be extracted.”