Letters to Editors
CHICAGO, IL â€“ In light of recent terrorist threats in Aurora, former 2nd Ward aldermanic candidate and community leader Bita Buenrostro has called upon Chicago’s City Council to crack down on the public threat of Illegal transfer and misuse of the official uniforms of the Chicago Police Department.
The United States Department of Justice alleged Thursday that two Aurora, Illinois men were conspiring to misuse National Guard uniforms to gain access to and attack US military installations and share information with the terrorist group ISIS.
Buenrostro, who is also married to a decorated Chicago Police Officer, immediately recognized the threat that people of Chicago would face if terrorists were to attempt similar tactics with an official CPD uniform. Buenrostro states, “Our citizens must be able to trust the credentials of our Chicago Police Officers. It benefits everyone to have complete faith that a person presenting himself as a police officer is, in fact, a sworn officer, a trained professional, and not an imposter or a terrorist out to do harm.”
In 2009, a 14 year old boy was able to acquire a Chicago Police uniform and temporarily pose as an officer. More recently, during the 2nd Ward alderman election, Alyx Pattison, a candidate running against Buenrostro, was able to have a staffer don some regalia and impersonate a police officer for photos in a political mailer. Both Buenrostro and Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police cried foul at the blatant felony committed by Pattison and by her staffer. These examples, coupled with the Aurora arrests are troubling.
Like many large cities, Chicago does not “issue” police uniforms, but instead gives officers a quarterly uniform allowance. Officers must purchase their uniform and duty equipment with that allowance at one of a handful private suppliers in the metropolitan area. While these suppliers act in good faith, Buenrostro would like to ensure that no more misuse of the CPD uniform can occur.
Buenrostro asks the Chicago City Council to pass an ordinance increasing penalties to a felony and fines for the sale or transfer of official police insignia/regalia to non-officers and for the use or possession of that regalia for unofficial purposes or for impersonation. Relevant section of the city code is 2-84-500.
“Impersonating a Chicago Police Officer is a serious and dangerous crime. Since Alyx Pattison wants to become a member of the city council, the people of Chicago and of our 2nd Ward deserve answers from Pattison. We want to know how Alyx was able to obtain and illegally use a Chicago Police uniform in campaign literature. The safety of Chicago’s citizens depends on it.”
“Trust in the CPD uniform is good for the people, it is good for the men and women of our police department, and it is good for the City of Chicago” -Bita Buenrostro