Feds award $55M to fund security planning for Chicago summits

Protesters expected for May meetings of G-8, NATO
By David Heinzmann, Tribune reporter September 30, 2011

Chicago has won a $54.6 million federal grant to fund security and emergency planning and cooperation among the city, Cook County and the state as preparations begin to ramp up for the G-8 and NATO summits being held here next May.

While the money is to be shared among city, county and state emergency management agencies, Chicago’s top emergency planner said the grant will be most useful in planning training exercises to handle security at the simultaneous economic and defense summits, which are likely to attract thousands of demonstrators.

Gary Schenkel, director of the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications, said specific plans for the money aren’t in place yet because the city and the federal government haven’t selected venues for the summits. Once the sites are chosen, emergency and security officials can start planning specific training exercises aimed at helping city and county personnel work smoothly together, he said.