Decertifying aviation police will destabilize airport environment

Alderman Raymond Lopez (15) urged Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans to abandon efforts to decertify the Aviation Police on Tuesday. “Since the Dr. Dao incident, the constant flux of police changes, inconsistent messaging, declining employee morale, and disregard for past precedent and City ordinances by Commissioner Evans threaten to destabilize the safety of Chicago’s airport system,” said Lopez. “Decertifying the Aviation Police without the necessary 137 percent increase in CPD officer staffing to address the security void would create a destabilized airport environment. In this scenario, we would be unable to handle passenger incidents while maintaining airfield integrity and compliance.”

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Ald. Lopez worked at Midway Airport for more than a decade during his time as an employee of Southwest Airlines. “I have seen many incidents where Aviation Police responded to calls in a quicker fashion than CPD,” said Ald. Lopez. “I have witnessed the Aviation Police’s ‘badge effect’ on unruly passengers. I’ve witnessed them deal with everyday routine issues like drunken passengers, fornicating passengers, aggravated passengers coping with irregular operations, domestic issues between families, as well as emergency situations such as power outages, perimeter breaches and runway mishaps.” Ald. Lopez cautioned against any effort by the Department of Aviation to ultimately turn to a private security contractor to handle the work previously done by the Aviation Police. “Any belief that a private contractor security force will be able to handle these issues as diligently for the lowest wages possible is foolish and shortsighted,” said Ald. Lopez.

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