Terror Expert? Where?
We're assuming everyone has heard about the terror attacks in India. One hundred twenty five dead, including upwards of fourteen policemen. Army and Police elements are clearing buildings and the scenes of chaos and horror are a stark reminder of what is still out there. New York and Washington DC are patrolling their subway systems with fully armed and visible SWAT officers in response to at least one specific threat. We haven't heard that CPD is doing anything different, but we got this e-mail today (language has been altered slightly to conceal the District of assignment):
- Dear SCC,
I arrived for work today 20 minutes early. I walked in from the parking lot and noticed how deserted it was, being very early in the AM. There are no cameras there. I walked in the side door of the station. I met no one in the hallway and went to the locker room without seeing a soul. It was a holiday after all.
And after going back to the main floor, I saw a newspaper and the India attacks and was struck by a sudden thought. What if I wasn't a cop heading in for an early holiday shift? What if I was bent on destruction and I led three vans full of armed terrorists into a parking lot where no one could see us, unloaded a strike team of a dozen or more people bent on doing some real damage? We just waltzed into an unsecured lot, in through a side door, and made it to the locker room. We could have headed to the desk, the WC's office, the radio room, the administrative offices. We'd own that building and everyone in it within 60 seconds.
The shotguns are locked up and the only key is in the Captain's desk. Haven't seen a rifle yet and aren't likely to if you've seen the desk crew. Did you know the India attacks started out with an assault on a police facility? Has anyone given any thought to this?
We wish we could answer that last question. From what we've seen, the answer is probably no. We aren't saying every police facility should be locked down and machine gun emplacements dug into the lobbies, but it ought to be a bit more realistic than it is now.
- video security should be upgraded, repaired or deployed in older buildings;
- some sort of reinforcement ought to be provided to desks;
- doors ought to be locked and access restricted;
- long guns should be available to any officer who wants to carry it and can qualify with it - yes, even the desk crew (again, this is common sense - the power test isn't going to mean shit if the above scenario plays out at a police station);
We here at SCC are just coming to terms with the fact that with the president-elect being from here and maintaining a presence here for the duration of his presidency, Chicago hopped up quite a few places in terms of terror targeting. We're wondering if the Department Administration is probably more than a few weeks behind our range of thinking. We're scared they might be months or years behind.