Days after announcing that Chicago Police would get new riot gear, including 3,000 new face shields, in time for the NATO/G8 summits in May, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration has begun soliciting protective equipment for police horses, too.
Emanuel's camp is seeking bids for "police horse riot gear and training aids," including leather nose guards with "impact-absorbing foam," rear and front leg shields made of "high-impact plastic" and training tools to help prepare the horses for crowd-control operations, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The city plans to outfit all 30 horses in the CPD's mounted unit, in excess of their annual $2.7 million budget.
The May summits are expected to bring more than 7,000 world leaders, and will likely attract tens of thousands of activists and demonstrators eager to get their attention. Activist magazine Adbusters put out a call last month for 50,000 occupiers to "flock to Chicago, set up...peaceful barricades and #occupychicago for a month" in May, contributing to the concerns of police and city officials that increased security will be a necessity.
The Emanuel administration has commissioned the police face shields from Colorado-based Super Seer Corporation for $193,461. A supplier has not been chosen for the protective horse gear.
The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) requested the additional gear, including the protection for horses, according to CBS Chicago. FOP President Mike Shields called the safety of the horses "paramount to the safety of the officers" and noted that the force's current shields and helmets are outdated.
"People have been known to throw bags of urine, human feces, and also inflammatories [sic] at officers” Shields said last week, according to CBS. "The [face shields] that were issued over a decade ago allow for fluids to drip through."