|Brown (inset) was assigned to a post near this Safe Passage sign in the 4200 block of West Gladys.|
Update 7:15PM—Chicago Public Schools has provided a statement regarding our story:
“We are deeply concerned by these allegations, and after learning about this serious incident we took immediate action to remove the individual in question from her position. The City’s dedicated Safe Passage workers play a key role in keeping students safe each day, and this incident is in no way representative of who they are. A full review of the matter is under way.”
A city source, speaking on condition of anonymity, stated that Brown has been removed from her position without pay effective immediately. Our original report follows.
This one is definitely originates far from of our usual coverage area. But we’re making an exception because it’s sooooo Chicago.
Police arrested a 60-year-old Safe Passage worker Tuesday after allegedly seeing her sorting and holding two bags of heroin at her school route post.
Around 8 a.m., cops in the 11th (Harrison) District were monitoring a pod camera feed from the corner of Gladys and Pulaski in Garfield Park. The area is “known for a high volume of narcotics trafficking,” police would later write in the Safe Passage worker’s arrest report.
Police said they watched as Betty Brown walked a few feet from her post and hid behind a fence to “manipulate an item consistent with narcotics packaging,” according to court records. A patrol car was sent to investigate.
As officers approached Brown on the corner, they allegedly saw her holding two red zip bags containing suspected heroin in her right hand. She was taken into custody.
Prosecutors charged her with felony possession of heroin and Judge Stephanie Miller released her on a recognizance bond. A police department source said prosecutors approved the possession charge because cops “didn’t have enough (evidence) to charge her with dealing.”
Prior to her current situation, Brown’s hadn’t been charged with a crime in Cook County since 1996.
Brown was responsible for allowing safe passage of students as they traveled between their homes and Genevieve Melody Elementary School, according to Safe Passage program information.
“Safe Passage is designed to provide safe routes for students while traveling to and from school,” according to the Chicago Public Schools website. Route workers are hired by third-party contractors, according to the school district.