Report: Cody Parkey gets police escort to practice at Soldier Field

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The Bears took the unusual step of having kicker Cody Parkey practice at Soldier Field, instead of at their practice facility.

Then they took the unusual step of banning local television stations from airing the footage of that practice, when local news stations sent helicopters to film the practice in the publicly owned building.

Taking so many unusual steps can be time-consuming, unless you have a police escort.

According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, the Bears specialists were able to get from their facility in Lake Forest to Soldier Field more quickly with the help of local law enforcement.

NFL teams typically get an assist getting through traffic when their buses are moving from hotels or airports to games. But calling in the cops to breeze through traffic would be unusual for a much smaller contingent, making the 40-mile trip from their suburban facility to their stadium.

“It is standard procedure for us to hire a private police escort for occasional team practices off-site, for example our annual Varsity Bears practice, or for team travel to and from the airport for away games,” Bears spokesman Brandon Faber told the Tribune.

State police didn’t comment on how often they were escorting the Bears, though they require teams to pay $110 per officer per hour, and $40 per vehicle for fuel and maintenance.

“The main purpose of an escort is to provide safety and security for all those involved in the motorcade as well as for the motoring public,” state police Sgt. Jacqueline Cepeda said. “Professional sports teams traveling in identifiable groups pose a target risk for criminal activity. Additionally, the movement of groups of multiple large vehicles (such as team buses and equipment trucks) pose a greater traffic hazard without proper traffic controls.”

“All officers working escort details are outside their regular scheduled shifts and are earning overtime.”

The Bears clearly value Parkey, as they hung onto him after the early misses that led to the special treatment. Although it’s a bit odd that they’d need an escort for a traveling party that ought to be able to get where they’re going in one vehicle.

7 responses to “Report: Cody Parkey gets police escort to practice at Soldier Field

  1. What a waste of money…. Maybe these officers could be working OT doing something that actually helps the city, like going out and catching bad guys?

  2. This article is a great example of what’s wrong with America Land use….otherwise known as suburban sprawl.
    The bears play downtown, but practice 40 miles away in the suburbs. They’ve been in Lake Forest since I’ve been born.
    That’s 40 miles of single family homes. Very little density outside of Chicago.
    And guess what? Some of the worst traffic in the United States. Very few people ride bicycles to work or even walk to work.
    When you see studies that say the happiest people are those that walk to work (and not stuck in a car in traffic) then you begin to realized that our American society did a poor job of planning our communities.
    We can change by building mixed use communities that are near rail stations.

  3. Fishfan77, while that is a great idea but departments have budgets to follow and are only able to offer so much overtime before that money runs out. Now, $110 per hour for an off duty cop is likely a huge bump in their normal pay thus benefitting the boys in blue more than getting overtime.

  4. >>State police didn’t comment on how often they were escorting the Bears, though they require teams to pay $110 per officer per hour, and $40 per vehicle for fuel and maintenance.

    So a person making say $200K/year could hire a police officer/car as a taxi to get to an airport (say JFK in NYC) during rush hour?

  5. This is typical overtime work. These officers are off the clock and putting in extra hours paid by private enterprise. Same as working in a bar or bingo hall to protect the cash on site. My father was a cop and his OT pay made up the majority of his compensation. That’s why a lot of cops “live in the uniform”.

    Also, for ~$150 – $300, why wouldn’t the bears eliminate traffic time and allow for more practice time?

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