Chicago Bus Driver Union Calls for National Guard Deployment

( – The president of the Chicago Bus Driver union wants to take a leaf out of New York City’s book by having the National Guard help check the bags of passengers on Chicago buses.

The idea started with New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, bringing the National Guard and state police in to check bags of passengers on subways in the city after increases in crime as of late. According to Hochul, there are 250 New York State police officers and 750 National Guard troops now deployed in the subway system. They are checking bags and passengers for weapons.

Chicago Transit Authority bus drivers are represented by Amalgamated Transit Union 241. The president of ATU 241 is Keith Hill, who said he would “welcome” National Guard members to help keep passengers and workers safe on Chicago buses. Hill added that police officers in Chicago have “their hands tied” with the rampant crime in the city, and additional support from the Illinois National Guard would make “everybody feel safe.” He emphasized that people will only use the transit system in the city if people know it’s safe to do so.

Hill pointed out that he knows people bring weapons onto Chicago buses, as many weapons have fallen out of passengers’ bags while riding the bus, with some even leaving their weapons behind after they get off the bus. Citing the need for safety, Hill argued that a bag check would only add a couple extra minutes to passengers’ travel time and would be worthwhile because it would allow everyone to reach their destinations safely.

While he has not commented on this specific suggestion, in the past Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has previously rebuked suggestions about bringing the National Guard into Chicago to deter crime, saying National Guard members are trained for a battlefield and are not police officers who are trained in crowd control.

Chicago’s Democrat mayor Brandon Johnson declined to comment on the proposal.

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