[Archive Home][Date Prev][Date Next][Index]


"Union asks state to halt rebranding of Chicago airport cops assecurity"

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Union asks state to halt rebranding of Chicago airport cops as security 
By Hal Dardick
The Chicago (IL) Tribune

The union representing Chicago's airport police officers moved Wednesday to 
halt the city's effort to rebrand them as members of a security force - signs 
of a battle that is emerging as aviation police are under internal review and 
outside investigation in the wake of the United Airlines passenger dragging 

Service Employees International Union Local 73, which represents 292 officers 
who work at O'Hare International and Midway airports, filed an unfair labor 
practice complaint with the Illinois Labor Relations Board. The union contended 
the city is moving "to strip the aviation officers of their authority as 
special police officers" and asked the board to order the city not to make any 
changes to the officers' "duties or symbols of authority" until it gives the 
union notice and "a full opportunity to bargain over proposed changes."

Union spokesman Adam Rosen said that without the word "police," airport users 
won't understand the officers have full police powers. He said that Aviation 
Department workers on Friday began replacing the word "police" on airport cars 
used by officers with the word "security." Officers also were told changes may 
be made to their badges, he said.

A carefully crafted statement from the Aviation Department said it is simply 
"reinforcing our existing policies." Department "policy has long been clear 
that while aviation security officers are an integral part of our airport 
security and operations, that they do not have the same authority as sworn 
Chicago Police officers," the statement said.

Whether they should be considered cops or security came up two weeks ago at a 
City Council hearing looking into the April 9 incident, when an aviation 
officer forcibly removed a bloodied Dr. David Dao of Kentucky from a United 
plane to make way for an airline employee.

Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, noted the word "police" was on the back of the 
officer's jacket and asked Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans if officers had 
been told to instead identify as security. Evans said that order was 
communicated in January.

Aviation officers are certified police officers, complete with Chicago Police 
Academy training, and have all the powers of sworn Chicago Police Department 
officers, the union contends. Aviation officers are not allowed to carry guns, 

During the council hearing, city officials said aviation officers had the 
authority to detain people, but it was up to Police Department officers to make 
an arrest. Aldermen took pains during the hearing to call them security 
officers, in a couple of instances correcting themselves after first calling 
them police.

The Aviation Department is reviewing the United case. City Inspector General 
Joseph Ferguson also is conducting an investigation that could result in 
recommendations for discipline or firing of the officers involved. Three 
aviation officers involved have been suspended, as has one sergeant, city 
documents show.
 Do you have an opinion about this story?
Share it with other readers in our CAA Discussion Forums

Current CAA news channel:

Fair Use Notice
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. If you have any queries regarding this issue, please Email us at stepheni@cwnet.com