Local forces send cops to protect NATO
By Dave Gathman email@example.com May 17, 2012 2:54PM
Police officers from 29 departments join to take part in ILEAS (Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System) Mobile Field Force training in October last year in the parking lot of the old Sherman Hospital on Elgin’s east side. | File~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 29, 2012 9:48AM
ELGIN — About 50 Kane and McHenry county police officers trained in crowd and riot control have been mobilized to help keep things in order in Chicago during the NATO conference.
The group has been training together as a unit of the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS) Mobile Field Force.
The Elgin Police Department alone is sending seven officers, and the EPD’s Sgt. Matt Udelhoven has been named commander of the entire ILEAS contingent, which also is expected to draw officers from all over the state.
“We’ve been asked not to give out many specifics about numbers or our locations ahead of time,” Udelhoven said Thursday as he prepared to leave for Chicago. “The protesters are kind of feeding on some of this stuff; and if they found out where we were staying, for instance, that could cause a problem.”
He said some of the Fox Valley officers will go to Chicago on Friday and others on Saturday. All are expected to be released by Tuesday night.
He said they won’t have to stay in a tent city. “We have lodging, but I can’t say where.”
These sorts of events often draw trained police from long distances away. For example, the Kane-McHenry Mobile Field Force also was sent to Pittsburgh in 2009 to help guard a summit meeting of the “G-20” nation’s leaders. And in 2008, they went to Minneapolis-St. Paul to help protect the Republican National Convention.
Udelhoven said the NATO meeting is considered a national security event, so all the officers’ pay and expenses — even down to their pension contributions for the time they are deployed — will be paid by the federal government. “In our last two deployments, I don’t think any city or village lost money.”
He said the deployment still leaves enough ILEAS officers back in the suburban police departments to handle things if NATO-oriented protests should spill over into the suburbs or some unrelated emergency, such as a tornado, should happen at the same time.
Although they come from many different police departments, the Kane-McHenry ILEAS team drills together periodically.
For example, 45 of them met last October in the parking lot of the old Sherman Hospital in Elgin. They donned protective vests and shields, and practiced maneuvers such as pushing a crowd to one side of the street or encircling a group of protesters who have handcuffed themselves together.