Aviation Security Officers Fight to Get Police Powers Back

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In City Hall today, Ald. Chris Taliaferro (from Chicago’s 29 ward) and other members of the Chicago City Council Progressive Reform Caucus and Aviation Security Officers, members of SEIU Local 73, held a press conference announcing the introduction of an amended ordinance directly granting police powers to Aviation Security Officers, and removing Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans’ ability to decide who receives police powers.

Earlier this year, Commissioner Evans ordered the word “police” removed from badges, uniforms, and vehicles of Aviation Security Officers, and ordered changes to job duties which require Chicago Police Department officers to respond first to a disturbance at the airport.

Aviation Officers must request CPD officers when they observe a disturbance at the airport, rather than responding directly, as they have in the past. The amended ordinance would reverse those decisions, requiring the Department of Aviation to return police powers to the Aviation Security Officers. The changes Commissioner Evans ordered violated the spirit of the original ordinance, which established Aviation Officers’ police powers. The amended ordinance returns the Aviation Security personnel to their original purpose as “law enforcement” and “peace officers.”

"Our role has changed if you're telling me I need to stand by and let someone else do my job. If I see something, it's not in me to walk away or wait and call someone else. I am a certified law enforcement officer. It doesn't sit well with me to have another law enforcement officer do my job. I worked hard to get where I'm at. I've been at this department for 5 years. I chose this job because I want to help people, " Officer Christiana Reno.

“Our role has changed if you’re telling me I need to stand by and let someone else do my job. If I see something, it’s not in me to walk away or wait and call someone else. I am a certified law enforcement officer. It doesn’t sit well with me to have another law enforcement officer do my job. I worked hard to get where I’m at. I’ve been at this department for 5 years. I chose this job because I want to help people, ” Officer Christiana Reno.

Aviation Security Officers are sworn officers that work every day to ensure the safety of the travelling public. The nearly 300 women and men protect and serve for the Chicago Department of Aviation. As first responders, Aviation Security Officers have stopped and apprehended those who have breached TSA security checkpoints, evacuated areas that have potential hazardous material spills, and faced threats to their safety and lives.

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