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A group of Lakeview neighbors who’ve pooled money to pay for private security patrols learned last week that they weren’t getting quite the service that they thought they were.
Leaders of the Barry Ashland Racine Roscoe (BARR) neighbors—named for the four streets that form the edges of their patrol area—met with their security provider after reading our reports about private security efforts in Lakeview.
In an unsigned email to the group, a BARR leader revealed that they had contracted to have “off-duty or retired police officers” patrol their area.
BARR did get real cops, the email said. But they also got a Cubs security guard who is not.
“I was made aware that one of our security officers is not a police officer, but works as a security guard for the Cubs. He is licensed by the State, but he will no longer be working for us,” the email said.
Copies of the email were provided to CWBChicago by multiple sources.
While the non-cop is no longer working on the BARR account, patrol provider Walsh Security is.
Walsh patrols “are doing what we have hired them to do. Be an extra set of trained eyes and ears watching out for us.” Many neighbors voiced enthusiastic support for the guards’ work, the email said.
The email didn’t address how a non-law enforcement officer was allowed to patrol for BARR when the group “contracted with Walsh to provide retired or off duty [sic] police officer[s].” Nor did it say how long the Cubs guard had been working for them.
But Walsh “assured me that he picked the officers he thought would work best with our detail. He picked them because he knows them and knows how they work and they know what he expects. He expects a lot,” the leader wrote.
It’s not the first time that a local security firm has provided non-law enforcement workers for patrols billed as being staffed by off-duty cops.
In the wake of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando last year, we tried to find out how the city would ensure that Chicago Pride Parade organizers would provide “160 off-duty police officers,” for their event. We couldn’t get a straight answer. That evasiveness is what sparked our curiosity, sending us on a year-long investigation of Lakeview’s private security patrols.