The majority of the security plans for the NATO summit still remains a secret, however Chicago has already undergone a series measures for the summit on May 20-21.
The city’s security alterations, which according to Don Zoufal, a safety and security expert at System Development Integration and Legal Advisor of Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police is a way to control the traffic congestion.
However the main concern Chicagoans should beware of is the terrorization from violent anarchist groups leading up to the NATO summit. Zoufal said some individuals are bent on destruction such as Black Bloc and Anonymous—and are relying on a police over reaction.
“There is a core group of individuals that will come to Chicago with the expressed purpose of disrupting the city and then there is even a smaller core within that that will come here with the expressed intent of causing significant damage to property,” said Zoufal.
The anarchist protest groups, Black Bloc and Anonymous are predicted to use violence as a way to reach a wide audience. These individuals are not connected to Occupy Chicago or other peaceful protestors, however Zoufal said that the group dresses in black clothing and creates public turmoil that could turn violent.
“Their plan is to come in with a group, get to a point where they decide to engage in their more violent demonstration. Then go out and damage the property, get rid of the stuff and blend back into the crowd,” said Zoufal, “It makes it very difficult for police to address.”
After several weeks of negotiations, Chicago and anti-war activists agreed on April 4, the specifics of a permit that will allow protesters to demonstrate against the NATO summit. There are some groups that come with the intent of property destruction. However according to Zoufal, since the G8 Summit was moved to Camp David, Maryland some of the more violent protest groups may not attend, taking some of the edge off.
Although security will be stringent, as the 140 to 170 motorcades for political dignitaries that will be attending the NATO summit headquarters—McCormick Place. According to Zoufal, police will have to be aware of property damage near the summit because of anarchists protestors plan to arrive secretively.
“I really don’t give a crap [about the protests]…if I can’t get ambulances through [Chicago] in a reasonable response time,” said Zoufal. “You have your right to protest but that guy who’s having a coronary on the other side of the roadway– if I cant get an ambulance through he’s screwed.”
According to Zoufal there are several high-risk factors regarding safety for the international attendees and Chicago residents driving. The political officials will receive specific security details, including back-up plans and alternative routes.
“Yes, it may inconvenience people…from the pantheon of my job we need to be aware of public safety,” said Zoufal.
In spite of the public safety concerns, Zoufal said that the NATO summit is still an important event for the city, the economy and generating international knowledge.
The NATO summit will have a ripple effect on the city—it impacts real people and their everyday lives.
“This is a huge event for the city of Chicago… it means real money and real jobs.” said Zoufal. The Summit is taking global issues and localizing them.