You may not believe this, but at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport (one of the nation’s busiest airports), police officers are not allowed to carry firearms and are taught to “run and hide” in an active shooter situation.
Before you suggest it – no, these are not “rent-a-cops” or untrained “security” guards. These are true-blue, professionally trained and sworn police officers.
The officers who are armed are from the Chicago Police Department, which is the primary law enforcement agency at O’Hare and Midway.
Internal aviation department documents obtained through department sources state, “If evacuation is not possible: hide.”
One officer told CNN that they aren’t trying to replace local authorities, but they want to be in a position to succeed in protecting their charges, “We’re not trying to replace the Chicago police officers; we just want to have the tools to do the job like every other law enforcement agency in the country.”
Another officer explained that officers at O’Hare are being put in an impossible situation.“We’re nothing but casualties if you tell us to run and hide. And how can the public look at us if they see police officers running and hiding? That goes against the very oath we were sworn to that we took.”
This is an untenable situation, especially in these dangerous times with terrorists plotting and conniving to harm us however they can. The police officers patrolling the halls in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport are the first line of defense for many innocent citizens traveling through Chicago. They don’t deserve to be left defenseless in the face of such an important task. They recently stood together against the administrator putting their lives at risk, but it doesn’t seem that the city is taking their concerns seriously.
In September, the officers took a vote of no confidence in him [Chief Richard Edgeworth].
In a response to the union, Chicago Aviation Department Commissioner Ginger Evans wrote that Edgeworth has the “full confidence and trust” of the department and “has been a tireless advocate for the Safety and Security section throughout his tenure.”
I won’t pretend to be able to predict the future… but I don’t want to be anywhere near Chicago’s O’Hare Airport when the other shoe drops on this policy.