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Chicago Already Implementing Safety Lessons From Boston Bombings

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Jay Levine Jay Levine
Jay Levine is the chief correspondent for CBS 2 Chicago. He joined...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s Mayor and Police Superintendent have said they’ll use lessons learned from the Boston Marathon bombings to make Chicago safer. But tonight we’ve learned that they already made some changes.

CBS 2 Chief correspondent Jay Levine sat down with Superintendent McCarthy, and began by asking the simple question: Are we safe?

“What we do have is a heightened alert, if you will. That not just within the department but it’s also within the community. Our calls for service as far as suspicious packages have gone through the roof,” said McCarthy

And that’s led to shutting down portions of Michigan Avenue twice this week as police responded to those calls, but found nothing dangerous.

As well as more uniformed officers at sporting events, and longer lines, due to security checks a bit more thorough.

We see more officers on mass transit. Canine patrols too.

Asked if there would be a greater presence at festivals like Lollapalooza and the Taste of Chicago, McCarthy said, “If not more uniformed officers, we are going to be focused, not just on crime but certainly terrorism as a result of the recent events in Boston.”

McCarthy’s top secret security clearance gives him access to federal investigations too. Just like Tom Kasca, a former secret service official, now a private security consultant.

Asked if he would dispute whether there are between 30 and 50 active investigations in the Chicago area now and at all times, Kasza said, “No. I’m surprised the figure is that low.”

Chicago’s former Police Supt gathered everyone concerned with enforcement and investigation in one place, the Counter-Terrorism and Intelligence unit.

“It was a one stop shopping for me that I could go to to find out what was going and make sure we were the most prepared we could be for any type of terrorist event the city might face,” said former Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis.

McCarthy dissolved that unit: scattering its component parts throughout the department. Some insiders view that as reducing the Chicago’s commitment to counter terrorism.

“Obviously they don’t know me very well,” said McCarthy. “I’m a World Trade Center survivor. It’s probably the most significant thing that happened to me in my life. The fact is that doesn’t go away, so first thing I that I think about is safety of citizens and officers here and that has to do with crime and terrorism. So, that is one of the reasons i don’t sleep very well.

McCarthy lost friends and colleagues on 9-11. He maintains that eliminating the counter-terrorism unit was an efficiency move, putting people back where they should have been and in no way shows a lack of commitment to protecting Chicagoans.

On the contrary, He says, it’ll make them safer.

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