As Taste of Chicago prepares to ramp up security at Grant Park this week, there are six officers who know they will remain off the street.
The officers assigned to 14th Ward Ald. Ed Burke’s security detail won’t be leaving their post anytime soon, according to Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.
When asked about the number of officers assigned to Burke, McCarthy responded that he couldn’t do anything about them, saying, “It’s mandated by a court.”
Burke's city-paid security stint began in the 1980’s during the “Council Wars." When an initial threat was neutralized, Mayor Harold Washington attempted to downsize the number of officers assigned to Burke, but the alderman fought back in court and retained the then-four officers, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Since the 80’s his security detail has grown to include six officers and became a point of criticism in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s campaign.
When asked in a mayoral debate if he would keep Burke as chair of the city’s finance committee, Emanuel said that Burke’s expensive security detail “just can’t continue.”
Only a week after Emanuel made the statement, Burke discussed threats made to his safety, claiming a man was leaving voicemails at his office that contained death threats. The man was later arrested.
The taxpayer-funded security detail may remain intact for now, but when asked how long Burke will continue to have security, McCarthy responded, “I don’t know about perpetuity.”