Chuck E. Cheese's Says Security Issues Will Be Addressed
Oak Lawn and corporate officials from CEC Entertainment look at options to improve and enhance safety of customers and employees.
Corporate executives from the company that manages Chuck E. Cheese’s met with village officials on Tuesday in response to a shooting last month in the restaurant’s parking lot.
Village Manager Larry Deetjen gave CEC Entertainment until the end of the business day to commit in writing to address security issues before the Oak Lawn Village Board meeting.
"They're responsive, but not where we need to be," Deetjen told village board members.
It is the second time in less than a year that executives from the company’s headquarters in Irving, TX, have flown out to personally meet with village officials to discuss security issues at the Chuck E. Cheese’s at 4031 W. 95th St.
In an emailed letter to the village manager shortly before the start of Tuesday's village board member, CEC responded to issues of capacity, security technology and the possibility of chipping in with the landlord and other businesses for a "village scout police car."
CEC's director of risk management Jeffrey R. Strege said his company would work with the village fire chief in developing an accurate headcount addressing overcrowding and capacity.
Strege further noted in the letter that the restaurant was under capacity the night of Dec. 22 when gunshots were fired into a car where a 20-year-old man sat in the front seat.
The man, an alleged gang member who had been attending his child’s birthday party at the restaurant, escaped being shot by diving under the steering wheel. Oak Lawn and Chicago Police gang units are said to be investigating the shooting.
The village also asked CEC to reevaluate its digital camera technology and consider funding a “village police scout car,” along with the building’s landlord KIMCO, and other businesses, in the shopping center’s parking lot.
CEC said it is considering the unprecedented measure, “albeit as a tenant that does not have the right under its lease to patrol the very same parking lots where the scout car would be posted.”
The company is prepared to add armed off-duty police officers for an additional weekday as well as school holidays.
CEC said it would also re-open discussions of using off-duty Oak Lawn police officers for security instead of the off-duty Chicago cops the Chuck E. Cheese’s currently uses.
Deetjen described the tone of Tuesday’s meeting, which included Trustee Tom Duhig, whose fourth district includes the family entertainment center, as “very much engaged.”
“We’re not there yet,” the village manager said. “I liked the fact that they’re communicating with the whole board of trustees. I’m going to ride these folks. I’m very serious as far as those three areas go.”
Duhig said he had never received complaints from residents about Chuck E. Cheese’s until Dec. 22, the night of the shooting.
“There weren’t really complaints about Chuck E. Cheese’s but more about what’s happening to the neighborhood and community,” Duhig said. “[The shooting] could have happened in a church parking lot. What can you do? It’s a random crime.”
Chuck E. Cheese's business and liquor licenses expire on April 30.