Chicago police Homan Square facility breach raises security questions

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner WLS logo
Tuesday, September 27, 2022
Security questions following CPD Homan Square facility breach
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Chicago police officials are left to consider the thought of what if? What if the intruder arrived with his own weapons?

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The question of how someone could breach security at the Chicago Police Department's Homan Square facility is complicated by the importance of the facility to CPD's citywide operation. Some of the most important and sensitive police units operate out of that building including SWAT, the Bureau of Organized Crime, and sensitive undercover units. Security experts told the I-Team that an intruder waltzing in from the outside is not just a problem, it could be a deadly problem.

"You would have had a bunch of defenseless SWAT officers as targets," said Ed Farrell, Silver Star Protection Group.

READ MORE: Police shoot intruder inside Homan Square CPD facility, Supt. David Brown says

Farrell, a former deputy U.S. Marshal in Chicago, spoke with the I-Team about the unthinkable outcome of what could have happened Monday at CPD's uber-sensitive west side facility. Farrell has been there hundreds of times during his years as a top federal lawman in Chicago.

"You have to either be with Chicago police officer or get checked in with a purpose to be there. There are evidence and vaults where they could have guns, weapons, narcotics, things of that nature," said Farrell. "There's a ton of sensitive information sensitive units and or covert units that they wouldn't want exposure to so the security in that building is generally very tight.".

But on Monday, it wasn't. Now, Chicago police officials are left to consider the thought of what if? What if the intruder arrived with his own weapons?

"It shows that there was a security overlook," said Farrell. "So obviously they need to revisit their security protocols to make sure this does not happen again."

Farrell believes this was a fluke and not a systemic failure. Considering the potential outcome of such a breach, CPD and City Hall may consider themselves fortunate if indeed it was a one-off and not a sign of a larger problem such as a staffing shortage.

"I actually think this was just a culmination of mistakes," Farrell said. "Again, I think this is a one off it's not common. You got to imagine, there's over 20 police districts and other facilities. This is the first break-in I can remember in my entire 27 years since I started in law enforcement."

Farrell said such a breach almost never happens and he says can actually be easily fixed. If that fire escape door is locked, the problem goes away or in a secure building if a door has to be propped open, then a security officer needs to be there to control access and prevent what happened Monday.