With Redding gone, 4 top Chicago airport security jobs now vacant

Four of Chicago"™s top airport security jobs are now vacant "” a void that raises even more questions about the state of security at O"™Hare and Midway airports.

The high-level vacancies include Jeff Redding, who was fired last week; two deputies who"™d been working under him; and the managing deputy commissioner of security who was supposed to be Redding"™s boss, City Hall sources said Monday.

Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans has told associates the vacancies are hampering her ability to investigate the April 9 passenger-dragging incident involving Dr. David Dao. She has also complained that, in some cases, the salaries for the jobs are too low to lure top talent away from other major airports.

It"™s unclear how long the other three jobs besides Redding"™s have been vacant. Regardless, the dearth of employees in those roles comes amid concerns about evolving role of the city"™s $19 million-a-year, 292-employee strong force of unarmed aviation security officers, also known as the aviation "special police."

Aviation Department spokeswoman Lauren Huffman was asked how the city can guarantee airport safety with four high-level security vacancies.

"Commissioner Evan"™ review of the security apparatus, and any personnel changes, are all being done to enhance and improve security at Chicago"™s airports," Huffman wrote in an email.

Huffman noted the Department of Aviation maintains a "multi-layered approach" to security that includes the Chicago Police Department as "the designated armed law-enforcement authority," the Chicago Fire Department, the unarmed aviation security officers, the Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the FBI…

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