Chicago police union head: City not ready to host G-8, NATO summits

June 24, 2011

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(Getty/Scott Olson)
Protestors at the 2010 G-8 summit in Toronto. Chicago police say they may not be ready for the city to host the summit in 2012.

The head of the Chicago police union says the city is not ready to host two major summits that would bring both international leaders and protestors. Michael Shields, the president of the Chicago police union, said summits like the G-8 and NATO bring a "bunch of wild, anti-globalist anarchists."

Protestors notoriously clashed with police officers in Seattle and Pittsburgh at previous political summits and Shields says Chicago's police force doesn't have the manpower needed to deal with thousands of potential protestors.

"The City of Chicago needs to take a serious look at how much revenue they're going to allocate immediately for new hirings because we are not ready prepared for a large summit such as this," Shields said.

Shields said the city needs to make the hires now or else the new class of officers won't be trained and ready by the time the summits come around next May.

Meantime, Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn said the state can handle anything. At past summits, like Pittsburgh, officers from other cities helped with patrols and controlling crowds.

Those who are planning to hold the protests say they have had to re-group because of the announcement the summits will be in Chicago. Mary Zerkel, with the Quaker group American Friends Service Committee, said they were planning a counter-summit in Washington, D.C. - even bringing in protestors from Europe - to call for a complete troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

"We hope that the authorities in Chicago will create a situation where there can be differing opinions in a non-violent atmosphere," Zerkel said.

She said they're in the process of shifting their plans to Chicago.