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Airport police officers told to hide from gunmen

Image credit: Sky News
Image credit: Sky News

Specialist police officers at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport who do not carry guns are being advised to run and hide if a gun attack takes place at the transport hub, according to a report.

Nearly 300 aviation police officers, from Chicago Police Department, are not permitted to carry guns at O’Hare and Midway airports.

Aviation department documents advise the officers to lock doors, turn off lights and remain quiet if an active shooter is at one of the terminals.

In an investigative report by CNN, the documents state: “If evacuation is not possible: hide.”

A separate training video seen by the news network adds: “If evacuation is not possible, you should find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you.

“Block entry to your hiding place and lock the door.”

The no-gun policy for aviation police officers has been in place for more than 20 years, and the Service Employees International Union Local 73 – which represents them – has been unable to persuade the aviation department to change the policy.

One of the officers told CNN: “We’re not trying to replace the Chicago police officers; we just want to have the tools to do the job like every other law enforcement agency in the country.

“We’re nothing but casualties if you tell us to run and hide. And how can the public look at us if they see police officers running and hiding?”

Owen Kilmer, deputy communications director for the Chicago Aviation Department, said in a statement that with “the current security structure in place, violent crime incidents at O’Hare and Midway airports are extremely low – ensing that the millions of passengers who fly through Chicago each year feel secure at the airports”.

O’Hare – the third busiest airport in the US – has a budget for 175 armed police officers, around 260 unarmed aviation police and another 170 private security, according to Chicago city records.

(c) Sky News 2016

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