CHICAGO (CBS) — A report by the Chicago Office of the Inspector General on Tuesday revealed that not only have Chicago Police officers been parking illegally — they’re slipping their parking placards to their friends and family to attend Bears games and Cubs games.
The First (Central) District commander told the Office of the Inspector General that “hundreds of people” park in the parking lot of the district police station to attend Bears games, and said he “didn’t think it would be a big deal.”
The First District station is located at 1718 S. State St., about three blocks west of Soldier Field.
In May 2018, the office also received complaint that off-duty police officers and civilians — including a former unnamed alderman — were parking for free at the 19th (Town Hall) District station during Cubs games.
Chicago police responded by saying that the commander in the 19th district felt better allowing off-duty officers to park there, knowing that they had “extra sworn manpower” nearby in the event they were needed.
The 19th District station is located at 850 W. Addison St., two blocks east of Wrigley Field.
Meanwhile, the district commander at the First District near Solider Field said they don’t have anyone patrolling the parking lot during games because it’s not a “beneficial use of resources.”
The OIG says the practice “perpetuates the appearance that CPD members are exempt from the law and provide special treatment to their friends and family.”
OIG also received several complaints that vehicles belonging to CPD officers were blocking emergency exits and fire escapes behind the Cadillac Palace Theatre. The vehicles were parked on the north side of Court Place – a named alley between Randolph and Washington streets downtown – and on the west side of LaSalle Street. Parking is not allowed in either place.
The zones where the vehicles were parked are marked “Fire Lane, No Parking, Tow-Away Zone,” the OIG report said.
Theater safety records show that it happened more than 100 times and when staff called 911 or City Hall, where the officers who parked in the no-parking zones were assigned. police frequently failed to respond. Chicago Police say they’ve since retrieved the placards and no longer honor them.
OIG says the courtesy parking continued despite a February 2018 police directive that said courtesy parking on the public way was prohibited.