Chicago to Allow Off-Duty Cops to Patrol McCormick Place

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Chicago, IL – The Chicago City Council this week approved a plan to have moonlighting city police officers patrolling McCormick Place as a precaution against an armed attack.

The measure is designed to offset concerns over the possibility of someone with a gun targeting the massive convention center campus.

“There has been growing concern with security … in terms of attacks in Brussels or things that happened in France and, quite frankly, things that happened in Orlando,” Mike Merchant, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) told city aldermen.

Merchant told the council that organizers of major trade shows had expressed concerns about security at McCormick Place and a willingness to help pay to have more police on the scene, the Chicago Sun-Times said.

The newspaper said the plan would create a pool of around 135 off-duty officers who would be available to patrol the McCormick Place grounds while in uniform. A similar program is already in place at Navy Pier.

“We are looking to have multi-layered options to have security maybe roaming the floor, or maybe canine units,” Merchant said. “They (show organizers) will pay us and we will pay the police officers.”

The police officers are part of an overall plan to upgrade security at McCormick Place, including new surveillance cameras and possibly concrete vehicle barriers around the perimeter of the center.

Reach Mike Merchant at (312) 791-7500 or mmerchant@mpea.com