Chicago ‘preparing for the worst’ as Election Day approaches

In a web conference for the U.S. Conference of Mayors earlier this week about election security, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said “given what we’ve experienced over the course of the spring and the summer, we can’t presume that what happened the night of or even days before and certainly not days after (the election are) going to be peaceful. We hope for that, we’re preaching that, to be in line with the long history of peaceful protests that we have in Chicago, but we are preparing for the worst.”

The Chicago Police Department is boosting patrol beyond regular deployments starting Friday, and “infrastructure assets” will be “strategically positioned” by the city’s Office of Emergency Management & Communications “to support and protect neighborhood commercial corridors and critical businesses in the event of potential public safety incidents,” the city said in a press release. 

The plans are similar to what Lightfoot announced after the second round of looting hit downtown his summer. 

OEMC has held “multiple workshops” with other city departments, businesses and agencies “to provide an overview of the city’s efforts and conduct various hazard scenarios, including severe weather, COVID-19 outbreaks and possible protests stemming from uncertainty around the winner of the presidential election in the days following Election Day.”

The city’s plans extend through Inauguration Day, the mayor said, and the city has coordinated with neighborhood, business and faith groups on the effort.  

“We’ve done recently an all-hazards drill,” Lightfoot continued. “If you were pitching this to a Hollywood producer, they’d say, ‘No way could this happen,’ But we’ve looked at storms, we’ve looked at COVID outbreaks. We’ve looked at potential protest and unrest and violence. Also looking at arson of ballot boxes, which unfortunately happened in the state of California. So we really threw in the kitchen sink to really walk through in a logical way, how do we respond to these potential threats that might manifest themselves individually or in the aggregate so that we are ready, that we are exercising that muscle memory.”

With the Halloween weekend approaching, “we don’t want someone to think that we’re vulnerable, that we’re looking elsewhere and then try to take advantage of that in Chicago to wreak havoc, to commit crimes.”

via Crain’s Chicago Business

October 30, 2020 at 08:56AM

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