After Fort Lauderdale, Debate Resumes About Arming City Aviation Police Officers

(CBS) – Chicago’s aviation police officers are making a renewed push to be allowed to carry weapons at the city’s airports.

CBS 2’s Sandra Torres reports.

The city’s 300 aviation police officers at Chicago’s airports cannot carry a weapon while on duty.

But one officer says that policy must change, especially after the shooting inside the Fort Lauderdale Airport.

He says if someone in the airport has a gun or knife, “We have a problem.” The officer, who asked CBS 2 not to reveal his identity, says he and his peers are told to “run and  hide” if there’s trouble.

The aviation officers have a law enforcement certification from the state. They legally carry weapons 24/7, but once they enter the airport they must put it away.

Ward 29 Ald. Chris Taliaferro introduced a resolution a year ago to change that.

“These officers already carry firearms, and it’s only a matter of taking them out of their lockers or wherever they store them,” he says.

The head of the Public Safety Committee says it’s not that simple. A meeting is scheduled with the head of the aviation department to address the issue next week. But it’s not a policy that will change overnight.

The Chicago Department of Aviation declined comment.

A spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department says they don’t take a position on personnel decisions.

CPD is the primary law enforcement agency at O’Hare and Midway. Their trained officers and specialized teams do carry weapons at both airports.


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