The Chicago city council is looking to give police powers, including making traffic stops and issuing citations, to a private security company.
According to news stories, two southside aldermen and Mayor Daley would like to see private security guards with police powers in the areas they work. Mayor Daley said the private security guards would have the power to enforce “moving violations and citations including loitering, littering and graffiti,” reported CBS 2 Chicago.
At the Second City Cop, a Chicago PD officer’s blog, they reported that in roll call a district commander addressed the issue, saying:
Commander wanted us all to know how politically connected this security firm is, how right now as we speak they are in the process of getting city council permission to issue parkers and movers. That’s right, per a commander of police a security outfit may be conducting traffic stops and writing movers.
I am not familiar with the Illinois laws regarding law enforcement officer certification and enforcement powers. However, I do know that large cities, like Chicago, tend to set themselves apart from the laws of the state. I also know Chicago’s reputation for political corruption.
One Chicago-area officer e-mailed me and said that armed security guards only need 40 hours of training to be licensed. This is a bit short of the six months CPD officers get.
While private security has an important role in modern society, they are not police officers. Police officers and security guards are employed for two different reasons with different missions and responsibilities. Blurring the lines between the jobs is a political move made by the uneducated. This proposal could prove to be disasterous.