For nearly two years now, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been protected by a newly-formed special unit of CPD police officers, which is in addition to a separate bodyguard detail of about 20 officers that recent Windy City mayors have had.
The surprising revelation by the Chicago Sun-Times adds a little context to the lesbian mayor recently declaring, “I have the biggest d*ck in Chicago.”
The new secretive unit is known as Unit 544, and was formed to protect Mayor Lightfoot’s home and City Hall, and oversee her personal bodyguard detail, the Sun-Times reported. The unit has since grown to a roster of 65 officers, five sergeants and a lieutenant as of March 21, according to city records. It’s not clear what the racial makeup of the new unit is, which may be relevant when considering that at one point last year, Lightfoot publicly refused to give interviews to white reporters.
The newspaper noted that the CPD sent a memo to rank-and-file officers on July 7, 2020, informing them that they could apply to a new Government Security Detail unit.
“The unit’s mission will be to provide physical security for City Hall, the mayor’s residence and the mayor’s detail command post,” the memo said. “Through the coordination of intelligence and resources, officers will respond to all threats related to the mayor’s physical properties to ensure its protection.”
Applicants must have at least five years on the job, with the desired qualifications reportedly including “experience in providing security and property protection services.”
Citing responses to a public records request, the Sun-Times noted that “there hasn’t been any specialized training for the unit.”
Ironically, in the early days of the new unit forming, when anti-police sentiment was at a high in America, following the death of George Floyd., Lightfoot pledged to cut $80 million from her city’s police budget, according to InjusticeWatch. The proposed cut was later scaled back to $59 million.
Even more problematic for the mayor, the same summer the unit was forming some residents were complaining that their neighborhoods were lacking adequate coverage because so many patrol officers there were tasked with keeping protesters from gathering outside Lightfoot’s home.
Of course, Lightfoot denied that the creation of the special unit had any impact here.
“There wasn’t kind of a unified command of the [officers] who were in City Hall, at my house and my detail,” she said, according to the Sun-Times. “The first floor of City Hall was one chain of command, the second floor was a different chain of command, the fifth floor [where the mayor’s office is located] was a different chain of command, the house was different and the [bodyguard] detail was different.”
“We thought, and this is way before the protests or anything else, it just didn’t make sense. Because, you know, if there was some kind of emergency at City Hall, for example, the right hand wouldn’t necessarily know what the left hand was doing because they all reported to different chains of command,” the mayor added. “And then obviously, in 2020 in particular, there were a significant amount of protests all over the city, and some of them targeted at my house.”
The Democratic mayor said that served to further justify Unit 544, “All the more reason why having a unified command to understand and share intelligence and be ready to respond if there was any kind of threat was very important.”
There were almost twice as many police retirements in 2021 — 660 cops retired — than in 2018, and Lightfoot imposed a Covid-19 vaccine mandate for city employees last year. Violent crime has soared in the city over the past two years, as well.
Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara told the newspaper that Lightfoot was safeguarding herself at the cost of public safety.
“While murders are soaring, while districts are barebones for manpower, all that matters is protecting her castle,” the union chief said.
In addition to feeling justified in having a small army of cops protecting her, offering no apology, Lightfoot blamed Donald Trump.
“When the president of the United States uses the world’s largest megaphone and platform to target you personally, terrible things happen,” she said, without naming the former president. “He not only blew a dog whistle, he pointed really evil and dangerous people right at my doorstep.”
That accusation stretches reality somewhat.
For the record, Lightfoot faced a serious scare earlier this year when an armed resident upset over parking tickets approached her home. The man was eventually arrested on charges of stalking and reckless discharge of a weapon and is being held without bond.
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