Evanston Police Chief Richard Eddington says overtime and other expenses for his department during the NATO summit cost the city just over $117,000.

Eddington, in a memo to City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, said federal intelligence agencies and protest organizers both “vastly overestimated” the number of protesters who would show up for the summit in Chicago.

And he says the arrest by Chicago police of three people on terrorism charges before the summit began “had a dampening effect on the willingness of protestors to engage in illegal activities.”

Bobkiewicz says Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl plans to ask Sen. Richard Durbin and Rep. Jan Schakowsky to seek federal reimbursement for the city of the funds expended.

Eddington says that the expenses, while substantial, were reasonable given the information available at the time planning started.

The chief says that to maintain regular patrol and traffic operations during the summit, he had special teams shifted to NATO-related operations for the four day summit period, May 18-21.

Those teams worked 12-hour shifts in three-hour blocks, including one period back at the station to catch up on phone contacts and paperwork.

Areas given extra coverage during the summit included transit stations, downtown and the lakefront, Howard Street and Beat 77 on the west side.

With no major summit-related protest activities, Eddington says he heard from many members of the public that “cops are everywhere.” And with the extra officers on duty, Eddington says, crime levels in the city were substantially lower than usual that weekend.

Eddington says it’s been a long time since Evanston and many other suburban departments have faced major crowd control challenges.

So the department cooperated with Northwestern police and the Wilmette and Elk Grove police departments to provide 12 hours of training to each officer assigned to use special crowd control equipment.

And the department invited retired officers who’d handled civil disorders in the ’60s and ’70s to a roundtable meeting organized by retired chief William McHugh, who’d headed the Evanston department in that era.

Eddington said that discussion “provided unique insight into how Evanston historically has managed civil disorder — a tradition characterized by minimal confrontation and limited use of force.”

Eddington says the NATO summit marked the first time that suburban police personnel were invited into the federal intelligence center for a national special-security event. Cmdr. James Elliott was Evanston’s representative there.

In addition, the Skokie police department hosted a suburban intelligence operations center during the summit, and Eddington that will “prove to be invaluable in managing and mitigating the impact of future major events.”

He says Evanston cut summit-related costs by using existing crowd control equipment and tactics rather than spending a recommended $20,000 to buy teargas munitions and that, instead of using rented vans, it lined up city Parks and Recreation Department buses to be used to transport officers to disturbance locations.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Thank goodness Eddington showed sense

    "He says Evanston cut summit-related costs by using existing crowd control equipment and tactics rather than spending a recommended $20,000 to buy teargas munitions. . . "

    I am very pleased that the Evanston Police Dept. did not invest in teargas munitions. I would hope that they would never think that such a response was necessary or appropriate.

  2. Security – will it ramp up forever?

    Does anyone see any chance of the fear that seems to be a staple of American life being reduced and the security services that endlessly increase being scaled back?

    No agency would ever want to be accused of not doing enough, should something happen, but we all know that it is a fact of life that things do happen regardless of the measures taken to prevent them. As Vito B. would say, cost must be balanced with benefit.

    Take fire as an example. If the fear of fire were higher, there would be additional firemen, additional fire stations, maybe even people stationed on each block to look for smoke. We hear about response times and one wonders how short a time is short enough? But we all know that there will be fires in the future that will burn things down regardless of what we spend on fire prevention.

    How can this logic be applied to "national security" which is now employing tens of thousands of people and has seen the creation of the huge Homeland Security Agency. It would surprise me greatly if the statistics would show security threats being anywhere near the threat of fire for a typical American, but literally billions of dollars are now going to security and surveillance. Where will it top out?

    If there is some incident, it will be claimed we haven't done enough. If there are no incidents it will be claimed that we have been successful, but must continue that success with no less funding. These scenarios can be true whether the actual threat is huge or tiny, but we rely on those who have an interest in maintaining the security systems to tell us about threats, and they will never say the threat is dropping as no bureacracy will reduce itself on its own.

    My fear is that we are raising children to fear…that they will think what seems onerous to us is the norm and necessary. Who is to say?

  3. Evanston really???

    Did the "security planners" really fear that the "protests" would somehow spill over into Evanston and surrounding suburbs. Really??? Did they not get the memo that indicated that the focus of "protest" against NATO and its global war on countries around the world- was at McCormick Place- with the central point of the march from Grant Park to Mc Cormick Place being the 50+ young Afghan and Iraq vets who chose to return their war hero medals by tossing them in the direction of the NATO summit.      Was the concern that this would be a repeat of 1968 Convention in Chicago?   Having been at both,I find this fear humorous-    but since it is my tax dollars that were spent on this fear , perhaps not so funny after all!!!!!

    1. Chief McHugh, really??

      Old time residents of Evanston will remember McHugh as the chief of police during the incident in 1973 when the EPD beat up the 5th ward alderman at the time, Roosevelt Alexander. 

      It was a really questionable stop–Alexander was arrested for no apparent reason and was then beat up by a couple of cops.  Several aldermen wanted a Citizen's Review Board for independent investigation of the police and McHugh was adamantly opposed.

       He also helped forcibly remove NU students who were peacfully protesting the Viet Nam war at various sites around town.

      Is this really the type of guy EPD should be listening to?

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