With the FBI and Secret Service estimating up to one million people heading downtown for a Barack Obama celebration, River Forest and Oak Park police are preparing to have extra personnel on the streets and available to respond as needed to any problems caused by the massive turnout.
Anticipating a historical election result, local law enforcement want to be certain they have adequate personnel to provide security for what they expect will be an unprecedented crush of people returning on public transportation and local roads to and through Oak Park, River Forest and neighboring towns.
“We want to maintain a presence,” said Oak Park Chief Rick Tanksley. “We’ve shifted a majority of personnel to the evening and early morning hours.”
A command center will be set up at the River Forest village hall. In River Forest Police Chief Frank Limon has rescheduled his staff to have at least 16 officers on duty during the evening and night hours. Oak Park has instituted similar changes to its schedule.
In addition, a staging area for police response will be located in neighboring Berwyn, and a Cook County Sheriff’s contingent will be on stand by at the Maybrook Courthouse facility in Maywood.
“I liken this to the Bull’s NBA championships,” said Tanksley, who characterized the plans as responsible, proactive policing. “We can’t take any chances,” he said referring to both crowd challenges and the possibility of disturbances.
Besides dealing with additional street traffic, Tanksley said special attention will be paid to the two rapid transit lines that terminate in Forest Park.