Several City public safety agencies announced their 10-day preparedness and safety plan for the upcoming Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 3, and for all of next week. Over the past month, the City’s departments and agencies have been working in conjunction with the Chicago Board of Elections to deploy resources and supports at every polling station and neighborhood to ensure residents can safely participate in this year’s election and exercise their First Amendment rights.
As part of the 10-day safety plan, the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) has activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC). This is a citywide effort to monitor any activity and crowds and coordinate resource requests and responses with City departments, agencies, the Chicago Board of Elections as well as county, state and federal partners.
Over the past several weeks, OEMC has held multiple preparedness workshops with the City’s public safety and infrastructure departments, businesses, agencies and partners. These workshops provided an overview of the City’s efforts and conducted various hazard scenarios, including severe weather, COVID-19 outbreaks and possible protests stemming from not knowing who the winner of the presidential election in the days following Election Day.
To supplement on-the-ground public safety resources, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) has increased its patrol beyond its regular deployments. As part of this effort to further ensure the City can rapidly respond to all situations, CPD has cancelled days off Department-wide for Election Day, and for select citywide teams during the week of the election.
While the Department is focused on crimefighting prevention efforts, officers will continue to ensure residents expressing their First Amendment rights are protected and given the public safety supports they need to stay safe. Additionally, the City will deploy more than 60 infrastructure assets that will be strategically positioned by OEMC to support and protect neighborhood commercial corridors and critical businesses in the event of potential public safety incidents.
To ensure residents can safely vote in-person this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has been working closely with the Chicago Board of Elections to ensure all polling locations have a COVID-19 prevention plan. These public health plans provide every polling location with cleaning and disinfection protocols, traffic flow guidelines to ensure social distancing and required face-coverings for all employees.
With expected rallies and large gathering demonstrations surrounding the election, the City has communicated heavily with Chicago’s business community to ensure they have the resources and guidance needed to be prepared for such activity. The Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection encourages businesses to take the following steps:
- Sign-Up for ChiBiz Alerts: Text “CHIBIZ” to 6-7-2-8-3
Join Chicago’s Public and Private Partnership Initiative (CP3): Visit preparedchicago.com
- Stay Alert! Call 9-1-1 if you witness suspicious activity
- Remove any unsecured items from the public right of way and ensure your surveillance cameras are working and camera lenses are clean
- Forward any event/demonstration information to the 1st and 18th District Community Policing Office or Business Liaison Office
1st District - CAPS001District@chicagopolice.org or 312-745-4290
18th District - CAPS018District@chicagopolice.org or 312-742-5870
This week, OEMC launched a Business Operation Center (BOC), a physical facility created for the private sector partners to exchange real-time information and provide situational awareness during public safety or public health issues. A first-of-its-kind effort, the BOC is designed to expand the communication and operational components by utilizing businesses and key subject-matter experts with the ability to contact security onsite and distribute accurate information.
OEMC is also reminding residents that they can also receive emergency alerts for updates on street closures and public transportation by subscribing to Chicago’s text or email alert system at NotifyChicago.org or follow OEMC on Facebook and Twitter.