Thursday, June 08, 2017

CWB Talks: Year-Long Investigation Of Private Security Began With Unanswered Questions About Pride Parade

Chicago Pride Parade marchers on Broadway in 2016 | CWBChicago reader
Our year-long investigation of private security patrols in Lakeview was never meant to be.

It all started by chance with this email to 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney on the day after the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando last June:


Since 49 people had just been shot to death at a gay nightclub in Florida, we thought the questions were valid and of public interest.
1) How does the city verify that parade organizers will actually deploy all of the off-duty police officers that they say they will? 
2) How does the city verify that the persons hired as off-duty officers are, in fact, certified police officers?
Before the Pulse shooting, parade organizer Richard Pfeiffer repeatedly said he'd hire 160 off-duty cops | Grab 
Alderman Tom Tunney’s staff politely and promptly provided a response from Chicago Special Events Management, a private contractor who handles security for the Pride Parade and Pride Fest:
“Our security service is license [sic], bonded and insured, same group that does the neighborhood security for the Chicago Cubs.  Most are permitted for carrying firearms, a few are certified...but non carrying firearms.  All are certified security personnel.”
You may have noticed that they answered questions that we didn’t ask.  So we went back and politely restated our two questions again.
1) How does the city verify that parade organizers will actually deploy all of the off-duty police officers that they say they will? 
2) How does the city verify that the persons hired as off-duty officers are, in fact, certified police officers?
Tunney aide Chris Jessup suggested that we contact parade organizer Richard Pfeiffer and Special Events Management directly.

We did.

Neither of them responded. And Tunney’s office has never replied to any email on any topic that we’ve sent since. None. Not one.

However, officials immediately stopped saying 160 off-duty police and started saying "160 off-duty police and other security personnel."

Our curiosity was piqued.

Tom Tunney (3rd from left) at the city's pre-Pride Parade press conference in 2016 | Chicago Patch
When the Cubs headed to the playoffs a few months later, the city and local officials again told the public that swarms of off-duty police officers would be in the area.

One night, during a home playoff game, two of us found ourselves sitting next to a couple of these “off-duty officers" at iHop in Boystown.

They both wore tactical vests with embroidered badges that looked like Chicago police stars that were mostly obscured by the yellow reflective vests that they wore on top.

They had walkie-talkies with the handpieces drawn up to their shoulders, and local police calls could be heard emanating from their radio speakers. One had a Chicago police checkerboard hatband wrapped around the radio cord. He looked to be all of 21-years-old.

The other had a CPD checkerboard winter cap in his pocket.

As our editors ate their pancakes and patty melt, the two “off-duty officers” began taking pictures of each other. They were behaving like children.

There was no way that they were police officers. None.

We started talking to some real cops. We started talking with security guards as they walked Boystown and Wrigleyville. We started talking to a lot of people.

Two months ago, as the series’ scope and topics began to gel, we approached a professional, seasoned journalist and convinced him to advise us on our work. We needed a “red team” to help us see what we were missing and to make sure we did everyone right.

The results of our efforts were posted this week.

Yet, a year later, neither the city nor the Chicago Pride Parade organizer nor anyone else will tell us…
1) How does the city verify that parade organizers will actually deploy all of the off-duty police officers that they say they will? 
2) How does the city verify that the persons hired as off-duty officers are, in fact, certified police officers?  
You can support CWB's newsgathering efforts with a donation to our Tip Jar.
----------
Email      Facebook       Twitter       YouTube

22 comments:

  1. I say we all dress like officers ...checkerboard the works ...that way we can all enforce the law ...like play police

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you're on to something.

      Delete
  2. This, dear neighbors and fellow taxpaying constituents, is the sound of Chicago politics in action ... the sound of crickets chirping in the darkness, from the offices of Alderpuss Tunney, the Police Commander, and the operator of this cheesy and questionable "private security" outfit. God forbid if we ever have a Pulse-like scenario in one of the Halsted bars, around a Cubs game, at a massive event like the pride parade, or just in general, because based on what I've read here the past few days in this excellent series about the police patrols, NONE of them are equipped and trained and CERTIFIED to handle such catastrophic scenarios.

    Tunney, and especially this Pfieffer guy (who "owns and operates" the pride parade) have never demonstrated the need to feel accountable to the community on the two questions posed here, and unanswered after a full year, by CWB. Shame on both of them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your aim is actually a little low.
      Raising your sights to the Mayor's office at City Hall will put you directly on target.
      Since Rahm Emanual took office, the Chicago Police Dept has lost thousands of police officers who have not been equally replaced by new hiring.

      Now, the latest revelation is that police commanders were told, in no uncertain terms, by the 1st Deputy Superintendent, that they will be demoted on the spot if they tell the Aldermen that they are short on manpower.

      If anyone was expecting any integrity here, it starts from the top, and there is ZERO coming from City Hall.

      Delete
  3. It is interesting that your email to Tommy has INQUIRY as its subject line. There seem to be a couple of inquiries going on lately. Keep up the good work guys!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Because they all know if you ignore something long enough it usually goes away. Dont let it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You guys are real Woodward & Bernsteins --surrounded by Deep Throats galore.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Unfortunately Tunney who could care less about this community besides his big payroll checks and overbloated pension and takes granted that gays will just vote for him for the simple fact he is gay which is a sad commentary of our community. I remember him being on record during a question and answer session (a transcript does exist ) at city council begging the newly superintendent McCarthy not to remove tommy and Jose because they were detrimental and instrumental for the safety of 19th district, there is collusion all parties involved, what I can't get past is why one little blue shirt police officer holds as much untouchable power and he's immune from his behavior and practices that are questionable at the bare least. It's like he is like Teflon that no boss or police council or the current police superintendent can have any authority over him , it's quite mind boggling

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe he is trying to be like Madigan ! It really is amazing the depth of the corruption inthis city,county and state. Someone should contact Lisa Madigan about this corruption that is plain as day and in our faces......oh wait. Nevermind.

      Delete
    2. Given the opportunity I couldn't say that I wouldn't take one of these adlerthingy jobs and care less either. That's a pretty good paying part-time gig.....with a pension too! You all knew he runs restaurants.

      I also think it should be legally disclosed that the realtor you hired to list/sell/market/show your home might only be available 2 hours in late afternoon while they're waiting tables at their "real job" too.

      Delete
  7. Be proud. You did a great story. Again, the public is being lied to and deceived, and you laid it all out.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Gay Pride is an infested mob-controlled left wing fascist enterprise anyway. It didn't start that way though.

    ReplyDelete
  9. These officials will not answer you (or any of us) for one simple reason: they don't HAVE to! At least, not as long as Chicago and Cook County citizens will continue stepping into the voting booth and blindly voting for everyone with a "D" next to their name. Keep doing the same thing, expect the same results.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or maybe because this blog is kind of a slam piece on eny elected official, the police, businesses and anyone else who disagrees? I'll be shocked if this comment is approved..

      Delete
    2. Tip: People who write "slam pieces" don't ask for other people's sides of the stories. We did and we continue to. Politely and repeatedly.

      Delete
    3. Educating the community on the back room deals and corruption is a slam piece ? There used to be reporters that were proud to do this type of digging. Seems they are all in bed with each other now and taken care of.

      Delete
  10. Are aldermen required to release their tax returns to the public?
    If not, perhaps it is time to make it a requirement.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Congratulations guys. Seriously.
    'Heads up journalism' at its best, I think.
    Keep pushing. This stuff about (Walsh) associating with known felons may have legs. At least clarifying the CPS policy is worthwhile.
    ----------
    And to all you whiners who just can't say 'stand up guy' enough times. Put up or shut up. Just explain why stand up guys don't follow the rules, why stand up guys get in bar fights and why stand up guys lie about neighborhood crime. Easy.
    Stand up guy is not the same thing as 'your drinking buddy'. Got that?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Kudos to you. This series has been the best investigative journalism I've seen in Chicago in years. You are doing what the local media outlets used to do; you are not accepting anyone's bullshit explanations but are methodically following up on facts to ascertain the truth. Thank you for a job very well done.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you!! How do I find the Tip jar? It's time, again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We appreciate your support, JustMe. Thank you!

      https://www.paypal.me/supportcwb

      Delete
  14. From other post on same series:

    If this back scratching and the resulting decline in safety and livability irritates you, don't just comment here or get propaganda at the CAPS and neighborhood meetings. Let people hear your voice especially outside of the neighborhoods dysfunction.

    Outside of Boystown, the Chicago office of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection can be reached at (312) 744-6060

    If your concerns are specifics to the bars and the overcrowding, noise, drugs or violence email ILCC@Illinois.gov or call (312) 814-2206.

    You can try to pressure the business alliance to respond at info@northalsted.com or by calling (773) 883-0500. The Alliance's president is Ramesh Ariyanayakam of Kit Kat. He can be reached at 773.525.1111 or email contact@kitkatchicago.com.

    The only way the declining situation gets fixed is if we stop depending on the Alliance, CPD, Walsh Security or the bar and other business owners. We have seen what that gets us!

    ReplyDelete