Posted on 4/27/2012 at 12:00 AM

Feds will dispatch uniformed officers to downtown Chicago ahead of NATO summit


CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago may see visible signs of the upcoming NATO summit when federal agents — some in battle gear — start patrolling downtown as soon as next week.

The Federal Protective Service has been telling tenants of the city's federal buildings that the officers would be patrolling in what is calling the "Red Zone." The decision to dispatch the officers, some armed with non-lethal bean bag weapons, was first reported this week by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The head of the city's NATO committee said she didn't know about the federal show of force until she read it in the paper. Lori Healey explained the federal government doesn't consult the city when it makes such a decision but that such moves are common when there are major events.



Suburban Cops Prepping For NATO Summit

Police don't expect terrorism here, but cops in Morton Grove, Niles and elsewhere are training for reaction to NATO summit in three weeks. Since there's an alert out re: the bin Laden anniversary, the extra prep could come in handy.

Suburban police departments are training to back up Chicago police for the NATO summit May 20-21 – and to handle any incidents that spill out beyond the city limits.

Since the Department of Homeland Security issued an alert for potential terrorism on the May 1 anniversary of the bin Laden killing, the extra training can't hurt.

Regarding the NATO summit, “There’s concern throughout the suburbs – whether it’s northern, western or southern – that something could expand out of Chicago,” said Morton Grove Police Chief Mark Erickson.

“For the most part, it’s just a concern. There’s not a whole lot we can say about it, other than this event is coming to Chicago. It will probably stay in Chicago. But the north, south and west suburbs are kind of in a pre-preparing mode just to be safe.”

Departments training for months

Members of suburban police departments have been spotted in training exercises. Such rehearsals have been going on since the NATO summit was first sited in Chicago last year.

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