Aviation police officers at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports have been advised to “run and hide” in the event of an active shooter at either facility.
The officers really have no other options because they are not allowed to carry guns.
According to CNN, the 300 aviation officers all have “badges, uniforms and vehicles…[that] say ‘police.'” Moreover, “they are certified police officers in the state of Illinois.” But they have no guns. Therefore, “internal aviation department documents” obtained by CNN advise the officers to evacuate in the event of a shooter. And “if evacuation is not possible: hide.”
The documents also say, “We must also ensure that unarmed security personnel … do not attempt to become part of the response, but could be invaluable to the evacuation efforts.”
A training video for aviation police officers provides similar guidance: “If evacuation is not possible, you should find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you. Block entry to your hiding place and lock the door.”
An unidentified aviation police officer commented, saying,
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. 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.
Matt Brandon is the secretary-treasurer of Service Employees International Union 73, which represents the aviation police officers at O’Hare and Midway. He said the aviation police go to the same academy as Chicago Police and receive police officer training, so he cannot understand why they are not allowed to carry guns.
Brandon observed, “They are the last resort to the airfield in many cases, and to have them unarmed is just, I think, it’s ludicrous.”
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