Millions of passengers who traveled by air every day got the biggest scare of their life on April 9th, when a passenger, Dr. David Dao was dragged out of the United Airlines Flight 411 when he refused to give his seat to a United crew member.
Aviation commissioner Ginger Evans has submitted a review report on the matter.
The 292 unarmed aviation police officers will survive the passenger dragging fiasco, but they will have to undergo an overhaul training, and the word “police” will be removed from their vehicles and uniform.
The bottom line is that the role of the $19 million a year Chicago O’Hare Airport security will be diminished.
According to Evans, these people are not police and those who are not police cannot use the word police.
Security of top 30 airports was reviewed and Evans concluded that things are quite clear outside Chicago.
At the first place, there is the armed law enforcement agency, just like the Chicago police. Apart from this are unarmed, non-sworn security people. This is the way it is done in United States.
These two separate group of people have been confused for quite some time and it is time to remove this confusion.
According to Service Employees International Union Local 73, which represents the 292 officers, Evans has put the blame on aviation police officers in place of checking back on her own mismanagement and failed policies.
Union members are planning to take a vote of no confidence in Evans.
Evans also stated that the Inspector General Joe Ferguson has prepared a review of the passenger dragging incident and suggested disciplinary action against those involved in the incident.
On request from United, three unarmed aviation police officers dragged out Dr. Dao when he denied to give his seat to a United crew member.
According to Dao’s attorney, he had multiple injuries including a broken nose and two chipped teeth.
The case, however, has already been settled between Dao and United Airlines for an undisclosed amount.
Some steps have been announced by Evans to make sure such incident does not happen again.
Evans also noted that as per a rule from the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, new appointed aviation police officers are excluded from attending the police academy.
The word “Police” is mentioned on the vehicles and uniforms of these officers and they are trained at the police academy, however, they are listed as “aviation police officers” in the city records. Above all, they are not allowed to carry guns.
Evans, however, highlighted that the work done by aviation police officers is extremely valuable. They are doing badge checks, door checks and they are trained to help in medical situations.
It is critical to re-define the role of these unarmed officers to remove any confusion which may result in incidents such as passenger dragging.