Amid warnings that Chicago Fire Department paramedics are "taking a literal beating at the hands of their patients," a City Council committee on Monday answered the alarm.
The Committee on Public Safety unanimously approved an ordinance championed by Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th) at the behest of the Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2.
It would create a special category of crime for assaulting CFD paramedics, private ambulance workers, American Red Cross or any other emergency medical services and disaster response personnel in Chicago. If convicted, an offender would face up to 180 days in jail and fines as high as $1,000.
Chicago is in the middle of a "mental health crisis" and paramedics are "sadly, on the front lines" of that crisis, said Joe Senorski, director of political action for Local 2.