Council Considers Electric Fences for Businesses

Ald. Stone said firefighters could be issued master keys to disarm the fences

Wednesday, Dec 8, 2010  |  Updated 8:00 AM CDT
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The Chicago City Council is considering a measure that would allow businesses in the city to install non-lethal electric security fences.

The proposal would allow the fences if they don't border residential or public areas, are surrounded by non-electric perimeter fences and bear posted warnings.

Reports say the fences send 7,000-volt jolts every 1.3 seconds. By comparison, a Taser delivers a 50,000-volt jolt 21 times a second.

The fences are allowed in California, and such Illinois communities as Bolingbrook, Elmhurst, Rockford and Schaumburg. They also are allowed at railroad facilities in Chicago.

Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner John McNicholas testified against the fence ordinance Tuesday, saying they could impede access to fire scenes.

But Alderman Bernard Stone said firefighters could be issued master keys to disarm the fences.

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