CHICAGO (CBS) — As the jury deliberates the fate of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, some local agencies, institutions and businesses are preparing for the verdict. Van Dyke is charged with murder in the 2014 fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) officials are preparing for lock-down drills and have extra safety measures in place in preparation for the verdict in the Van Dyke Murder Trial.
Chicago Public Schools released a statement saying, “Safety is our top priority, and the district has contingency plans in place to protect students and staff in the event of external safety threats. CPS has been in regular contact with law enforcement and emergency planning organizations to ensure schools have the strongest possible safety plans.”
A CPS spokesperson said lock-downs are often part of school safety plans and may be used in the event of an active safety concern.
South Loop Principal Tara Shelton sent a letter to parents warning that if the jury reaches a verdict during school hours on Thursday or Friday, the school “will immediately go into a lock down drill protocol for both buildings. All exterior doors will remain closed and recess will be moved indoors.”
Northwestern Medicine said travel to and from the hospital may be impacted due to protests in and around the city. The hospital sent out an email reminder to allow extra travel time when travelling to or from the hospital.
Additionally, the hospital said the safety of patients, visitors, employees, and physicians is a top priority.
Chicago police have increased patrols around the city of Chicago in preparation for the verdict in the Van Dyke murder trial.
According to the Chicago Police Department, officers began working longer hours during the start of closing arguments.
Meanwhile, police sources said all days off for officers are cancelled and 12 hour shifts will be the norm until further notice.
Officers on day or midnight shifts will work in their district or an assigned unit. Those with afternoon shifts and canceled days off will be sent throughout the city, downtown, and to the west and south sides, to where they are needed.
Tactical and specialized unites will be deployed in platoons, wearing battle dress uniforms.
Van Dyke is charged with two counts of murder, 16 counts of aggravated battery, and one count of official misconduct.
The jury has been sent to deliberate the verdict in the Jason Van Dyke murder trial after ten days of testimony that culminated today with closing arguments.
The trial has lasted 11 days, with 40 witnesses. Now 12 jurors will have the final say. Is Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke guilty of first degree murder?
Closing arguments are set to begin Thursday in the Van Dyke murder trial. The Chicago Police Department said it is increasing police patrols around the city in preparation for the verdict.
When court began Wednesday in the Jason Van Dyke trial, a day after the police officer charged with murder took the stand, Van Dyke’s defense team rolled out the police car’s tire that Laquan McDonald slashed the night he was shot. The defense team rested its case after the tire was admitted as evidence.
Officer Jason Van Dyke testified in court Tuesday, taking the stand in his own defense. He claimed he just wanted Laquan McDonald to drop his knife.
Jason Van Dyke took the witness stand on Tuesday in his murder trial, telling jurors the infamous video of the shooting does not show what he saw when he shot and killed Laquan McDonald. Van Dyke insisted the teenager raised a knife across his body, prompting the officer to open fire.