CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago city council committee is acting on an ordinance that attempts to prevent a repeat of the notorious incident in which a doctor was dragged off a United Airlines jet, and injured, to make way for a crew member.
The ordinance would prevent city employees from removing any passengers from an airliner except in cases of a medical emergency or a security problem. City Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans appeared before the council’s aviation committee Monday to say the department strongly supports the measure.
“The ordnance is very much in align with the actions we have taken thus far to strengthen our existing security procedures and help prevent another completely unacceptable incident from occurring in the future,” Evans said.
But Ald. Edward Burke, one of the ordinance’s sponsors, pressed Evans hard on other topics, including how she came to hire a now fired airport security chief who had allegations of sexual misconduct in his background and how she contracted with an Israeli government agency to help review airport security.
Evans also had to field questions on whether she plans to take the police designation away from airport security officers. “It’s an important question that requires careful study,” she said, adding that she was not in a position to answer that on Monday.
Matt Brandon, member services representative for the Illinois Council Of Police (ICOP), insists they are police. “These folks are trained by the Chicago Police Department, so there’s no confusion with the officers about what it is they are to do.” Brandon also represents sergeants among the Airport Security Officers.
And Ald. Emma Mitts said the city should not cast doubt on that either. “Give them the power; they can’t just be there with no power.”