CHICAGO (CBS) — There’s a Chicago police staging area set up in Humboldt Park where officers are outfitted for duty when there is a verdict in the Jason Van Dyke trial.
Organizers of Sunday’s Chicago Marathon said security is also top of mind for the event.
CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley has the story.
The marathon will have around 45,000 runners. But race organizers aren’t the only ones focusing on the race itself. They’re also preparing for possible demonstrations in the wake of the Jason Van Dyke verdict. So are many Chicago institutions.
It’s a race that will feature runners from 100 countries along with 1.7 million spectators. But the possibility of disruption from protesters after the Van Dyke verdict is very much top of mind.
“I’m a Chicagoan so we’re keenly aware of the situation. It’s difficult but good will come of this,” said Chicago Marathon director Cary Pinkowski. “This community will move forward from this and hopefully come together.”
At a Sox park staging area, police playing bags while gearing up for possible deployment. There’s increased police visible at Chicago City Hall and other points in the Loop.
Starting Friday, all 4,100 Chicago firefighters are directed to take their work gear home. Helmets, boots and more ready to be directly deployed where needed.
At De La Salle Institute, which sits across the street from police headquarters, students received an e-mail Thursday that said if it’s known what day the Van Dyke verdict is coming, classes will be cancelled.
If the verdict comes without warning, it says “every precaution” will be taken for safety. And many other public and private schools are taking similar steps.
At a news conference Thursday, five runners who’ve taken part in all 40 Chicago Marathons (and are running again on Sunday) hope their race won’t be curtailed.
“There’s a tradition in this country of protests, marches and stuff. But there’s a place for that,” said Henry Kozlowski, who will be running his 41st Chicago Marathon.
“If it’s stopped, what am I gonna do? It was stopped 10 years ago when we had very hot weather and we worked around that. Whatever happens, happens,” said marathon runner Geroge Mueller who’s also participating in his 41st race.
Marathon officials said they have successfully handled security in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the Boston Marathon bombing. Organizers said they are confident they will do the same this weekend.