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'Undetectable' plastic knives banned in courthouses

Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Chicago Tribune

The Cook County Board on Wednesday banned so-called undetectable plastic knives at courthouses and other places where metal detectors are used to prevent violence.

Violators would face fines of $500 to $1,000 under the ordinance backed by Commissioners Bridget Gainer, D-Chicago, Edwin Reyes, D-Chicago, and Gregg Goslin, R-Glenview.

It comes in response to a police raid on the Northwest Side home of Kevin J. Long after he was arrested in March for allegedly bringing four hunting knives into the Daley Center, which houses courtrooms where civil and traffic cases are heard.

Those knives were metal, but among the 1,600 knives later seized in his home, about 100 were made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic, said First Assistant Chief Deputy Sheriff Kevin Connelly. Long was on a list of people deemed potential threats against courthouse officials, officials said.

If someone walked through a metal detector with one of the weapons, some of which are sold on the Internet as letter openers for less than $15, the knife would not be discovered, Connelly said.



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