Illinois police told to prepare for long emergency : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Illinois police told to prepare for long emergency

By JOHN O’CONNOR, Associated Press writer

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois State Police are carrying extra food, clothing and cash in their squad cars in case they have to respond to an emergency that could keep them busy for days. And trying to ease safety concerns after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, the agency is ordering all sworn officers to wear uniforms.

“As a consequence of the recent terrorist activities, the Illinois State Police must be prepared to respond statewide on short notice,” Col. Daniel Kent, deputy director of operations, wrote in a memo obtained by The Associated Press.

The directive, which is in effect until further notice, also orders all officers to wear body armor while on duty.

Police spokesman Capt. Dave Sanders said there’s no known imminent threat of terrorism in Illinois but the precautions have been in place for emergencies or disasters in the past.

“That type of preparedness is not new. It’s the same practice that we’ve had in flood situations and during Y2K,” Sanders said.

“It’s also a way of getting the families ready. It’s a reminder that when you’re out there ... you could suddenly be assigned to some other part of the state.”

In addition to crowd-control and other emergency gear, troopers are required to carry a three-day supply of clothing, personal hygiene items, high-protein food and bottled water.

The requirements, which include a reminder that facial hair other than mustaches is prohibited, shouldn’t faze troopers, said Sgt. Stan Donald, president of the Fraternal Order of Police lodge that represents them. They know they could be sent anywhere at any time.

And, Donald said, “A majority of our officers (already) wear body armor all the time when they’re working.”

The uniform mandate won’t affect many, Sanders said. Only a fraction of the department’s 2,157 sworn officers have administrative jobs that don’t typically require uniforms. But the department believes uniforms ease public worry.

“If our people are in uniform, it gives a heightened sense of safety and visibility,” Sanders said.

State Police Director Sam Nolen, a sworn officer who retired from the department in 1990 before returning as director in 1999, has chosen to continue wearing civilian clothes.

-- Martin Thompson (, September 26, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ