NATO & All the Unanswered Questions

Well Chicago, the long awaited NATO summit is almost upon us.  With all of the reporting surrounding the closing of streets and the disruptions to everyday life, little attention has been paid to what is coming Chicago’s way and whether or not the Chicago Police and their allies are ready for even a relatively light dose of what is possibly going to be experienced here next week.

NATO LogoAfter what happened in Seattle I am curious about why the press in Chicago has been so lackadaisical about the preparations for this summit.  The press has paid little to no attention about even the obvious questions that jump out at you.  It seems like the Chicago press are not really all that interested unless they are taking it from a CPD press release.

Recently, for some odd reason, Fran Spielman decided to ask Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart about where he would recommend the CPD hold arrestees from the streets of Chicago during the NATO summit.  Why she did this and why it received such a warm reception from the rest of the Chicago press as they served as a megaphone for the ridiculous story is beyond me, but then I think is was beyond much of our press corps also.  Now, one might wonder why in the hell the press hasn’t just approached the CPD and asked the person in charge of security for the event where they plan on holding detainees, I stopped asking such naïve questions years ago.

Here are some questions that should have been but haven’t been answered about NATO?

  • Does the CPD have the resources to attend to their public safety duties at the same time they are working to secure NATO and handle the protests?
  • Is the person in charge of making sure the CPD is adequately prepared for this event the most qualified and experienced person for the job?
  • Who is the person in charge of the CPD’s NATO prep and response?
  • Who are his or her underlings and are they qualified to be in their positions?
  • What is adequate training for the CPD?
  • Is the training of the CPD focused enough on the respecting the 1st Amendment rights of the protestors?
  • What steps are the connected criminal justice agencies taking to make sure they are adequately staffed to handle the influx of arrestees?

Psssst!….to the ChicagoPress – you do know what agencies I am speaking of right?  The next few questions are a BIG hint!

  • What steps are being taken by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to prepare for the influx of arrestees from the CPD during NATO?
  • What steps are being taken by the Cook County Public Defender’s Office to prepare for the influx of arrestees from the CPD during NATO?
  • What steps are being taken by the Cook County Courts to prepare for the influx of arrestees from the CPD during NATO?
  • What steps are being taken by Cook County Jail to prepare for the influx of arrestees from the CPD during NATO?
  • Are the preparations that these agencies are taking adequate for the forthcoming onslaught of arrestees from the NATO protests?

A few more just for kicks:


  • What weapons has the CPD purchased and trained their officers to use for the forth coming protests?
  • Who will have the ultimate authority to authorize the use of unorthodox weapons like the Long Range Acoustical Device, gas, and other types of weapons?
  • How will the Independent Police Review Authority investigate the use of these weapons and do they have anyone in their office that is an expert on the police use of these weapons?
  • What other forces, including military, will be deployed in Chicago and tasked with dealing with protestors?


I could go on and on but I will stop here.  The fact that the Chicago media has left most, if not all, of these questions without answers is a scary proposition, especially when you consider the history of the CPD and at times their proclivity to misuse weapons.  The sad fact is that in all the figures tossed around for how much NATO is going to cost the city, nobody has tried to calculate a figure for how much the City is going to have to pay our for police related lawsuits, both legitimate and not legitimate.

Tracy has nearly two decades of experience researching and working within criminal justice systems. When Tracy began pursuing a career dedicate to system reform, he found that no single organization existed to promote evidence-based discussions among law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Recognizing that citizens in Chicago deserved the right to demand transparency in their criminal justice system, Siska established the Chicago Justice Project. He received his Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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