A high-ranking Chicago cop raised eyebrows this week when he ordered his tactical units to ward off carjackers by spending up to an hour a day pumping gas for senior citizens.
But it turns out there’s another reason Dep. Chief Ernest Cato’s brainstorm might be more of a bust: Any cop who follows his order is breaking the law.
It’s illegal for anyone in Chicago to dispense fuel, offer to dispense fuel, or provide any other service to a vehicle at a gas station unless they are either an occupant of the car or an employee of the business.
The law is laid out in city ordinance 4-108-071: “Certain persons permitted to service vehicle.”
“Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be subject to a fine of $50,” the law states.
CPD did not respond Thursday when we asked if Cato’s order was still in effect — and how it aligns with the law his officers might be called on to enforce.
Cato, the department’s deputy chief of patrol for the West Side, on Tuesday ordered districts under his command to “assign two [tactical] cars to a gas station for 30 minutes to one hour and pump gas for senior citizens” as a way to battle carjacking.
According to CPD data, Chicago recorded 218 carjackings in January — but only nine of those took place at gas stations. And only 86 of last year’s 1,416 carjackings unfolded at service stations, records show.