and other north suburban police departments are communicating with Chicago police in preparation for the May 20-21 NATO summit and have begun training for incidents that might spill out beyond the city limits.
“We’re doing training done by the state police,” said Evanston police spokesperson Cmdr. Jay Parrott. “It’s all standardized training that any other law enforcement agency in the state does regarding crowd control. That’s being done just as a precaution, in case something does arise and we have to respond to it.”
“It could be for protests,” Parrott continued. “It could be for any type of civil disorder that may arise as a result of the NATO summit. And we are training approximately 50 officers, that is, a combination of officers and supervisors.”
According to a , many north suburban police departments have been training for months.
Niles Police Chief Dean Strzelecki said that he was not expecting protests to spill over into the suburbs, but that the departments wanted to be prepared for various scenarios.
“We're not expecting protesters, but it could be squatting,” Strzelecki said. “They've got to stay somewhere, so they could pitch a tent in open fields. … But we don't think there's anything to protest here in the North Shore area. … Obviously we'll ask the public to be aware of anything strange, like we always ask the public to do, but we're not expecting (terrorist acts).”
Strzelecki also said that Chicago police had told suburban departments that they would not be called into help handle demonstrations, but that North Shore police would prepare for the worst.
Morton Grove Police Chief Mark Erickson said most suburbs have regular procedures to handle big events and dignitary visits.
Erickson recalled when Queen Elizabeth drove through to Morton Grove without incident, when President George W. Bush visited a nearby public safety facility and when local police were involved during President Barack Obama’s Grant Park election rally.
“We have all these suburban task forces who train together,” Erickson said. “We have mobile field forces, SWAT teams, burglary teams. Some of those encompass … 125 towns that routinely train together.”
Erickson also said he talks with police chiefs from neighboring communities at least monthly.
“We have regular meetings and most of us are friends anyway,” Erickson said. “For the most part, we’ve known each other for a long time. It’s nice when you want to bounce something off another guy, you’re not calling some distant chief. You’re calling a friend.”