Chicago prepares for G8 and NATO summits

Feb. 16, 2012 at 4:11 PM

CHICAGO, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Chicago police are preparing for the Group of Eight and NATO summit conferences the city will host in the spring, city officials said.

At a meeting of people with downtown interests Wednesday at the Federal Reserve Bank, a law enforcement panel touched on a number of preparations for the two overlapping conferences, which will take place May 19-21. Use of tear gas on expected demonstrators was a topic.

"I don't think something like tear gas is a good idea, because now you have a whole bunch of little crowds running around," Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told the Chicago Tribune. "As a tactic it doesn't make sense to me."

He said it was too early to tell how many protesters could be anticipated, but similar summits in other cities attracted about 10,000.

Frank Benedetto of the U.S. Secret Service office in Chicago said there would be no interruption in the schedules of people going to work in the area of the conferences, and Rob Grant of the FBI's Chicago office expected things would go smoothly because of the city's experience in handling large events.

"If we were in Peoria I would be worried about it, but not Chicago," Grant said.

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