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By Jeff Coen, Angela Rozas
Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO - The dramatic increase in security around Barack Obama since the election has made a sizable impact in the Loop, where the president-elect is running his transition office at the Kluczynski Federal Building, straining an already-stretched Chicago police force and city budget.
The Chicago Police Department's Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents police officers, has been told that in addition to the dozens of officers detailed to the perimeter near Obama's home, about 60 officers are being temporarily assigned to protect the transition headquarters.
The police coverage is around-the-clock, with about 25 officers, essentially one from each district, assigned on two watches, and 10 officers and a sergeant assigned to a third watch, said FOP President Mark Donahue. The union has been told the detail is temporary, only until the incoming administration heads to Washington on Jan. 20.
Some involved in the complex security efforts said they understand city leaders have grown concerned about the potential cost of the extra manpower. Daley has proposed laying off almost 1,000 city workers and raising taxes and fees to close a $469 million budget shortfall, which he has described as the worse fiscal situation in his 19 years in office. Now the city will have to foot the security bill, at least upfront, and hope it will be reimbursed.
Daley's spokeswoman, Jacquelyn Heard, said the city is working with the Illinois congressional delegation to recoup costs.
Chicago police spokeswoman Monique Bond would not comment on details of Obama's security.
"It's a temporary and necessary measure," she said of the police detail.
The city's budget office said it did not have totals for what the city has spent on security. But the police details will undoubtedly weigh on the police force at a time of increased violent crime. Police have complained for months about understaffing in districts, which are supposed to have about 8,000 patrol officers at full strength, and city officials have said they don't have the money to make up for attrition.
"The lack of manpower, especially in district law enforcement, is a constant concern," Donahue said. "[This detail] stretches the troops even further."
This week, security was ratcheted up as Obama held talks with potential administration officials. At times, a dozen squad cars marked with Federal Protective Service Police insignias lined Jackson and Dearborn Streets around the building. Chicago police officers stood in pairs at many corners surveying the scene, which some have taken to calling "the Obama drama."
The security perimeter of the Kluczynski building has been extended, with a fence that reaches out into the federal plaza and fronts the low-rise post office building next door.

Wire Service
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