CHICAGO — The night before the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, it’s standard procedure for tow trucks to roam the route and clear the streets. This year, however, reportedly 400 vehicles were towed.
Some of those vehicles apparently belonged to Chicago police officers.
With 40,000 runners and two million spectators, securing the city marathon is no easy task. As the Chicago Police Department worked to keep everyone safe, critics of Mayor Lori Lightfoot complained some officers were treated poorly.
The Fraternal Order of Police posted on Facebook: “Canceled day off and forced to use personal cars for work and the mayor orders them towed.”
Word spread quickly on social media. Candidate for mayor Paul Vallas tweeted: “You would think that officers would be extended police courtesy. Not in this city. Not this administration.”
“As officers were going in to get radios, going in to get their assignments, they were coming out, people were running out of the building, saying ‘they’re towing our cars,'” said Alderman Raymond Lopez (15th Ward).
Another candidate for mayor, Ald. Lopez said he first learned about what happened through social media. But city officials told him the officers were quickly reconnected with their vehicles.
“I heard from people within Streets and Sanitation that they weren’t necessarily being impounded, they were just being relocated. But either way, it still sends a bad message to our officers who are already beat down, already coming in on their days off,” Lopez said.
WGN News’ repeated requests to the mayor’s office for comment Monday went unanswered. Chicago Police also did not return calls for comment.
Lopez and other members of the Council have long complained about canceled days off for police whenever there’s a big event.
“As we’ve seen time and time again, this robbing Peter to pay Paul policy of public safety, it’s failing us,” Lopez said. “As we’re taking our officers off the beat, as we’re taking them away from the train, we see criminals are taking full advantage.”
Lopez’s solution: Private security taking the lead on significant events.
“Police can be on hand to help if there’s an incident, but they shouldn’t be standing at every post, every other block providing security at the taxpayers’ expense,” Lopez said.
Mayor Lightfoot has resisted calls to increase the use of private security, saying she believes CPD must be responsible for safety in the city of Chicago.