Emanuel: ‘No threat to Chicago,’ marathon will go on

April 16, 2013

By Alex Keefe and Katie O'Brien

Chicago City Hall was quiet on Tuesday as Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that “there is no threat to (the city).” Security officials around the city and at its two major airports, however, remain on alert following deadly twin bomb blasts at yesterday’s Boston Marathon.

Even though Emanuel reiterated there is no “credible threat” to the city, he urged Chicagoans to keep their eyes open for anything suspicious. The mayor said he met this morning at City Hall with his top cabinet officials in the police and fire departments, as well as the head of the city’s emergency communications center.

Emanuel added he called Boston Mayor Thomas Menino yesterday to offer his support, following the bombings that have killed three people and injured more than 170 near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

“While it was a horrific event, it showed the best of this country,” Emanuel said, adding: “I think everybody was heartfelt for the residents of the city of Boston, so I wanted to make sure that they knew that our resources were available if they needed them.”

Security at Chicago’s City Hall didn’t seem stricter than normal Tuesday, save for the presence of two Chicago cops on horseback who were stationed on LaSalle Street. The Chicago Police Department did not immediately offer details as to what additional security measures might be in place.

Emanuel also insisted the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, set for October 13, will go ahead as planned. In a statement Tuesday, Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski said race organizers have been in contact with the city’s public safety agencies since yesterday’s bombings.

“As our top priority, we work in lockstep with these agencies to ensure the safest possible event for everyone involved. As we do each year and throughout the year, we will sit down with these agencies and conduct a comprehensive security review as part of the planning process for this year’s event,” the statement reads.

Meanwhile, security adjustments at area airports were more overt.

“Passengers traveling through Chicago’s airports today may notice a more visible presence of Chicago police officers, canine units and aviation security officers,” Chicago Department of Aviation spokesman Gregg Cunningham explained.

Cunningham said the department would continue to work closely with local and federal agencies on safety and security matters.

The Department of Homeland Security said it would continue to keep in place enhanced security measures at transportation hubs. Meanwhile the Transportation Security Administration is set to allow airline passengers to carry small folding knives on planes later this month.

The policy change is the first shift of its kind since the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Al Keefe is a WBEZ reporter. Follow him at @akeefe.