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Keeping Order on Election Night

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With election night less than a week away, the likelihood of a huge crowd assembling in Grant Park next Tuesday night for Barack Obama's election night rally is raising a number of questions. Some of the most important concerns relate to crowd control both inside and outside the ticketed area at Hutchinson Field. Chicago Police Chief Jody Weis said yesterday that he feels confident about the plan that's taking shape – but the details are still being worked out. Mayor Daley has predicted that more than a million people may show up downtown for what he describes as a “family event.”

Eight Forty-Eight'sDan Bindert recently spoke with crowd control expert Paul Wertheimer about the plans for election night. He's principal and founder of Crowd Management Strategies. Wertheimer says the city's experience with massive festivals like the Taste of Chicago will be helpful, but he says they'll need to pay special attention to crowd density, and that Barack Obama's star power may present some unique security challenges.

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