CPD increases patrols around CTA, Metra after New York explosion

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CTA L stop | File photo

Chicago Police have stepped up patrols at commuter rail, bus and CTA stations across the city in response to Monday’s bombing at New York City’s Port Authority bus terminal, a top mayoral aide said.

Alicia Tate-Nadeau, executive director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, said there is no known threat to Union Station, the Ogilvie Center, the Greyhound Bus station or any CTA station.

But Tate-Nadeau said Chicago Police have nevertheless “increased patrols around the city and to certain critical infrastructure” and plans to test Chicago’s readiness for a similar incident.

“CPD has increased vigilance in those areas…We’ve also had a meeting this morning with CPD, with CDOT with CTA with Water [Management] and with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events to make sure that everybody knows what our plan is and we’re consolidated,” Tate-Nadeau said.

“We’ll pull everybody together for a table-top exercise to take this scenario that we’ve already seen in New York City and we’ll make sure that we play that out here so we can see how we would respond. And if we find that we have gaps, we’ll tighten that up.”

After reaching out to her counterparts in Manhattan, Tate-Nadeau said it appears that “An individual was approached by law enforcement and prematurely exploded a vest with a pipe bomb on it.” Chicago plans to “talk about how we would respond to an incident like that,” she said.

“The way you keep the public safe is through everybody being vigilant and knowing what they want to look for,” she said.

“If someone looks like they shouldn’t be there or they’re acting unusual—if someone sees bulky clothing when they shouldn’t or wires—we want people to report it…We don’t want you to remember a special number. We just want you to call 911…Even if you’re not sure it’s something, we want you to report it and we’ll let the police determine if there’s an issue.”

Any irregular activity should be reported to 911 or CPDtip.com.

Tate-Nadeau was asked whether Chicago is as vulnerable to a mass transit attack as New York City is and whether this kind of lone wolf attack can be prevented anywhere.

“Luckily, this is not something we think about just today. We’ve been thinking about this for a long time. We’re just putting in place a plan that we already had,” she said.

“It’s the holiday season. We’ve stepped up security in the city just based on that. Now that we see this, we’ll just continue to add that second layer.”

On Oct. 31, an immigrant from Uzbekistan rented a truck and used it to mow down people on a bike path near the World Trade Center in Manhattan.

At the time, Mayor Rahm Emanuel likened the broad daylight attack that killed eight people and seriously injured eleven others to similar attacks in Barcelona and Nice.

The mayor hinted strongly that the city would consider further regulating the truck rental industry. Currently renting a truck appears to be as simple as plunking down your money and your driver’s license.

“When something happens anywhere in the world when it comes to terrorism, our teams…deal with it from a major urban center perspective, begin immediately to study, what do we do? What do we learn? And how do we adapt to that?” Emanuel said then.

On Monday, Tate-Nadeau said discussions continue about further regulating the truck rental industry and determine “what is reasonable and what we can do to safeguard” Chicago.

Contributing: Jordan Owen

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