Chicago has long been thought of as the “Second City”, the “City of Big Shoulders”. After successfully hosting the 2012 NATO Summit, “Chicagoland” has been introduced to the world as first class, and more than capable of handling large scale diverse events. The Chicago Police along with officers from more than 23 other agencies including the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security shouldered the responsibility for the safety of several thousand foreign dignitaries and members of the international press corps but also thousands of anti NATO protesters who converged on Chicago for the two-day conference that took place May 20-21, and was held at McCormick Place in the South Loop.
NATO came and went, but not without criticism from many Chicagoans whos complaints and concerns spanned from not understanding what NATO is, disapproval of the amount city resources dedicated to a two day event, and the closures of streets and businesses to disapproval of NATO itself.
NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed in 1949 and is comprised of 28 member countries forming a military alliance agreeing to mutually
defend one another against attacks from any outside or non-NATO member attacks. Among the topics at this years’ summit were the role of NATO in Afghanistan, NATO response to nuclear weapons, and strengthening NATO partnerships.
Many Chicagoans were left wondering what if anything does that have to do with the host city. The NATO Summit made Chicago a part of international history. This marked the first time a NATO summit was held in the US in a city outside of Washington, DC. Chicago is also the largest city in over a decade to host the Summit.
The two day traffic inconvenience for many Chicago residents was estimated to have generated over $100 million dollars in direct and indirect revenue as well as providing over 2,000 temporary jobs for Chicagoans. The NATO Summit provided an opportunity for the Chicago Police Department to receive additional training, equipment, and some much needed positive press. Even members of the anti-NATO Occupy Movement deemed the Summit an overall success that aided in revitalizing their cause and bringing the national issues as well as those specific to Chicago