SPECIAL OPERATIONS SECTION
A historical summary of the Special Operations Section.
WHAT WAS THE SPECIAL OPERATIONS SECTION
The Special Operations Section was a unit within the Chicago Police Department known alternately as “SOS” and was assigned to the Special Operations Section of the Bureau of Operational Services. Shortly before being disbanded, the Department underwent reorganization and the Special Operations Section was transferred to the newly formed Bureau of Strategic Deployment. Designated Unit 153, members utilized radio call signs in the 4300 thru 4600 series and operated on Citywide 1. The unit was active from circa 1985 thru October 9, 2007 and was headquartered in the Homan Square Police Annex, located at 3340 W. Fillmore Avenue, on the third floor.
SOS was once touted as one of the Department’s most nimble and aggressive weapons for fighting street gangs. In 2006, due to the growing concerns of corruption within SOS, the unit was disbanded. The unit at the heart of the corruption were involved in street policing, rooting out gang and drug crimes in the roughest parts of Chicago. Aggressive by design, uniformed SOS officers swarmed the highest-crime areas of the city making drug, gun and gang arrests. It was a high-pressure, exciting assignment that bolstered the careers of many officers who made high numbers of arrests.
When the Department introduced its Deployment Operations Center in 2003, SOS was one of the key tools the Department used to “put cops on the dots,” flooding neighborhoods where shootings and murders were most frequent.
The Special Operations Section also included other specialized teams / units, including the SWAT team and the Animal Abuse, Critical Response, Dignitary Protection, Helicopter, K-9, Marine, and Mounted Patrol Units. These units were reorganized into the newly named Special Functions Group in 2007.