Proposal Would Arm Aviation Police Officers at Chicago's Airports

The proposed ordinance looks to give Chicago's aviation police officers firearms

A new ordinance that looks to arm aviation police officers at Chicago’s airports was introduced to the City Council Wednesday.

The measure, which was introduced by Ald. Chris Taliaferro, could lead to moving Chicago Police officers out of the the city’s airports to assist in Chicago’s neighborhoods.

“This is a way we can put more boots on the ground without costing the city any money,” Taliaferro told Ward Room.

The ordinance notes that aviation police officers are already “certified by the state and annually required to be qualified to carry a firearm.”

Nevertheless, it is the city’s policy not to have these officers carry firearms while on duty.

The legislation ultimately looks to make aviation police officers at Chicago’s O’Hare International and Midway Airports more effectual.

“There is a standing order that in the event of an active shooter [aviation police officers] are to ‘run and hide’, which is contrary to what police are trained to do,” the ordinance reads.

Taliaferro explained that aviation police are trained and prepared for the added responsibility of carrying a gun.

"They already do the job," Taliaferro said. "They’re certified police officers in the State of illinois."

The proposed legislation also notes that all other major cities require officers at airports to carry firearms.

Richard Edgeworth, the chief of Chicago’s aviation police, resigned from the Chicago Department of Aviation last week after being the subject of an investigation into why his officers couldn’t carry guns or respond to an active shooter.

In January, the union representing the city’s aviation police asked Mayor Rahm Emanuel to allow them to carry firearms on the job to increase security.

At the time, the union faulted Edgeworth for not shoring up security at O’Hare and Midway.

When asked about the new ordinance, Emanuel said he had yet to look at it.

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