Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has touted his proposal to build a $95 million police training facility in West Garfield Park. Opponents are speaking out as part of the No Cop Academy campaign, however. They argue that the academy will contribute to the militarization of the Chicago Police Department as part of a larger trend of militarization of police forces around the world. Many suburban police departments own combat surplus equipment, acquired from the Pentagon. Activists fear that the Chicago Police Academy might become a regional hub for over-armed police departments to use military-like tactics. Chicago’s Budget Committee voted on Tuesday to award engineering firm AECOM the contract to build the police facility. AECOM is one of the biggest military, prison and police contractors in the United States. The company has been accused of defrauding the Iraqi military of millions of dollars while working on U.S. rebuilding efforts. AECOM was also accused of mishandling nuclear waste in Washington State. Activists say that the money could be better used on community safety if it were invested in mental health and public schools. Joining us to discuss why some activists oppose the police academy is Stefanie Bator, a volunteer researcher with the No Cop Academy campaign, and Christian Snow, a lifelong resident of the West Side and executive director of the black youth organization Assata’s Daughters.
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