‘Chicago Tribune’: Chicagoans Irked by Presidential Security

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By: Dexter Hill

Chicagoans may be proud to have the next president call the Windy City home, but security upgrades have some in the city anxious for President-Elect Barack Obama’s move to Washington, according to recent reports from the Chicago Tribune.

Tuesday, the Tribune reported that securing the president-elect’s transition office in Chicago could cost the city close to $1 million. The Kluczynski Federal Building, located in the city’s downtown Loop, is being monitored by officers from police headquarters and the Chicago Police Department’s training division. Starting next week, newly hired officers will be added to the security effort, working on their days off and receiving overtime pay that could cost the city $890,000, according to the report.

On Monday, security in the Loop was “an unavoidable presence” as Obama met with Sen. John McCain, according to the Tribune. Dozens of officers from Federal Protective Services patrolled the Federal Building’s lobby and periphery, and armed agents checked the photo IDs of everyone entering the building, causing a longer wait for those who work in the building, the Tribune reported.

Businesses in the surrounding area were also affected. “Brien Cron, the manager of the UPS store across from the entrance to the Kluczynski Building’s underground garage, said business is down 50% within the last week,” according to the Tribune. Foot traffic “has virtually disappeared” recently for a nearby cleaners whose front door is on the street where postal trucks must wait for inspection before entering the underground garage.

“We can’t wait until he leaves,” Cron told the Tribune.

Around-the-clock police coverage of the Federal Building alone will continue until Obama leaves for Washington on Jan. 20, the Tribune also reported.

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