Loop campus falls in NATO ‘Red Zone’
Published: Friday, May 4, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
Last week, the Federal Protective Service announced the locations of the security zones for the NATO summit. Included in the “Red Zone” are the westward boundaries of DePaul University’s Loop campus.
The Red Zone also covers many federal buildings downtown, including the Kluczynski Federal Building and the Metropolitan Correctional Center. As a sector of Homeland Security, the Federal Protective Service’s mission is to “provide integrated security and law enforcement services to federally owned and leased buildings, facilities, properties and other assets,” according to their website.
However, the Red Zone extends beyond the federal complex and shares boundaries with the protesters’ parade route that the city approved in early April. The boundaries of the Red Zone are Harrison Avenue, State Street, Adams Street and Franklin Avenue, while the parade will go south of State Street from Jackson to Harrison.
There will not a visible impact from Operation Red Zone. Instead, Federal Protective Service cars and barricades were erected by the Kluczynski Federal Building on Jackson and Dearborn. While there is bound to be a more visible presence as the summit draws closer, and during the scheduled protests May 15 and 19, there will not be a total barricade of the area. Deputy regional director of the Federal Protective Service, Cleophas Bradley, said they will not prevent anyone from entering the Red Zone. Since the beginning, those involved in planning the summit have maintained that Chicago will “stay open for business.”
The Loop campus has already announced that it will be closed Friday, May 18, and Monday, May 21; however, class will be in session during the May 15 scheduled protests. The university has not released any new statements regarding the deployment of federal personnel around the Loop.
Last week, uniformed and armed military personnel from the Federal Protective Service began their patrols of a section of Chicago’s Loop that will continue until after the NATO summit. According to statements from the Federal Protective Service, officers will be in “battle dress” and will carry “non-lethal” long guns.
Bethany Miller from the Chicago Police Department said that the most probable form of non-lethal ammunition is bean bag rounds. Miller described this ammunition as a “silver dollar-sized bean bag that is compressed into a shell casing.” While specifically designed as a riot control mechanism, and not intended to inflict long-term damage, the bean bag rounds are supposed to “cause a slight
muscle spasm on impact, making suspects fall to the ground so officers can handcuff them,” said Miller.
The Federal announcement caught many Chicagoans off guard. The head of the Chicago Host Committee, Lori Healey, disclosed during a press conference that “a lot of us seem surprised to read that,” referring to the front page article ran by the Chicago Sun-Times, April 25. “Obviously the federal government doesn’t consult with the city when they do this. Everybody was unaware of this.”
Even the mayor’s communication director, Sarah Hamilton, told the Sun-Times that “this was a security decision and we were not involved.” Hamilton was not available for comment.