Emanuel addresses Chicago security in wake of Paris attacks

Monday, November 16, 2015
EMBED <>More Videos

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says while there are no specific threats naming Chicago, he discussed security strategies over the weekend with local and federal officials.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Staff at the French Consulate in Chicago paused for a moment of silence on Monday, their first time back in the office after the tragic attack on their countrymen in Paris Friday night.

"I would like to say how grateful we are for all the support we have received from our American friends. And I would like to thank in particular Mayor Rahm Emanuel for coming here to the French consulate," said Vincent Floreani, Consul General of France.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel offered his condolences to the people of France Monday, adding to the growing memorial at the French Consulate and making his plans to travel to Paris public. He said he will attend the climate summit next month and wants the trip to symbolize his support.

"An ocean may separate us, but those values are what bond us together, both our countries, but also the people of Paris and the people of the city of Chicago," Emanuel said.

The mayor says while there are no specific threats naming Chicago, he discussed security strategies over the weekend with local and federal officials. Local officials are also urging the public's help.

"I was on the phone, as I said, directly with Jay Johnson, the head of Homeland Security. But that doesn't take away from the fact that a) a level of vigilance, b) everybody doing, whether, at public venues a gathering of a number of people, that you don't ask some questions and scrub, so to say, your own security and beef it up," Emanuel said.

The Executive Director of Alliance Francaise just returned from Paris Sunday night. He was told to stay in his hotel Friday night and saw more security over the weekend.

"There's a palpable sense of fear in Paris right now. People are just afraid," said Jack McCord, executive director, Alliance Francaise. "There was nobody out. And it looked like they had canceled some of the night markets."

A student at Alliance has been planning a trip to Paris this week, but the attacks have her questioning whether she should travel now.

"I'm very conflicted because I wanted to stand with the French people. I want to support my friends. I want to show that goodness triumphs over evil," said Joy, a student at Alliance Francaise.

Joy said she was leaning towards going on that trip she had been planning for months. While it may not be the historic trip she had planned, she said she believes it would be historic to see the resilience of the French people firsthand.


CTA, Metra and South Shore officials increased security as a precaution Monday morning, in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Commuter Danny Lowe said the extra patrols were noticeable Monday morning - and it made him a bit nervous.

"I got on the train and off the train, there's law enforcement going into the train and getting off at every entrance and exit. You don't know what to expect. Getting on the train, you don't know what's going to happen. It makes you double think everything," Lowe said.

"I definitely was comforted to see it, to be honest with you. But I didn't really notice anything different on the train," said Marilyn Howard, another commuter.

Many commuters said they won't let safety concerns affect their everyday routines.

"You can't let them control you. Our hearts go out to Paris, but you can't let them control you. We have to keep going on," Beth Lynch said.

Transportation officials said there is no specific threat. They asked riders to be alert and report anything suspicious.

In Chicago, there has been an outpouring of support for the victims of the terror attacks in Paris. Several skyscrapers in Chicago changed colors to mirror the French flag.

Trump Tower is lit, along with the Wrigley building and the Prudential building, where flags were lowered to honor the victims of the terror attacks in Paris last Friday.