With the news of a deadly terrorist attack at the Istanbul International Airport still on everyone’s minds, attention is being turned to airport security around the world. One of the biggest airports in the United States is located in Chicago, and aviation police officers at that airport are not impressed with the type of security measures, and protocols are currently in place to deal with similar attacks.
In a report that was sent by aviation police officers from the Chicago airport to the Aviation Department Commissioner, it is stated that police officers are not allowed to carry guns or any weapons while they are on duty at the airport. Instead of taking a lead role in attempting to stop terrorist attacks, they are instructed to “run and hide” if an attack takes place.
These officials are extremely upset that they are being inhibited in their attempts to do a good job on a daily basis. While no attack has taken place in Chicago, or is there a specific threat against the city, the attack in Istanbul has put everyone on high alert that something of that nature could take place anywhere in the world.
There are around 300 aviation police officers employed at the O’Hare airport in Chicago, but they are all unarmed when on duty. And their instructions are very specific: “run and hide” if a terrorist attack takes place. If an active shooter emerges at the airport, these officials do not have the mandate or the capability of doing something about it.
Even though they are certified law enforcement officials, these individuals are not trusted or allowed to carry the same type of weaponry that is commonplace among police officers throughout the country. In fact, officials from the Chicago Police Department are also given airport duty, and they are allowed to carry guns on their person while at or near the airport.
For their part, the Aviation Department stated that the primary security taskforce at the O’Hare Airport was the Chicago police department. They were the ones expected to go first in line to try and stop an active shooter or terrorist situation. But aviation officials at the airport are worried about the type of impression it would send if people around the world saw videos of law enforcement officials running, ducking and hiding instead of trying to help people or stop an active shooter situation. It is unclear if anything will come of their request.