If you remember, two months ago the Chicago Tribune did a series on the discriminatory manner in which the Chicago Police Department conducted DUI roadblocks — almost always in the south or west sides, and none in the past five years in white Jefferson Park (where a lot of police officers live).
Well, things have changed — at least for the time being. Last Saturday, the Chicago Police conducted a roadblock in Jefferson Park, nabbing a grand total of one DUI suspect, plus another person who was driving on a suspended license.
Too bad for the Police Department that this major sacrifice (of annoying Jefferson Park residents) didn’t make it to the Tribune. I had to find it on the DNAInfo website.
While I was there, I saw another story, by David Matthews, about what the Chicago Police have planned for the holiday weekend:
Chicago police said Thursday they will run special DUI patrols Downtown, in Lincoln Park and in Old Town to monitor for impaired driving this weekend.
The DUI Strike Force Patrols will begin at 7 p.m. Friday in the city’s Central Police District and last through 3 a.m. Saturday. They resume at 7 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday, and repeat Sunday night starting at 7 p.m. through 3 a.m. Monday morning.
“The purpose of this program is to saturate a pre-designated area with roving police officers that continually monitor vehicular traffic for signs of impaired driving,” police said in a statement. “Patrols also place emphasis on speed, alcohol-related and safety belt violations.”
The police department’s Central District stretches roughly from 25th Street to Wacker Drive, and from Lake Michigan to Interstate 94. The Near North District is bounded by Fullerton Avenue, Lake Michigan, and two branches of the Chicago River.
The DUI patrols are part of a larger citywide safety initiative over the holiday weekend, where officers will blanket the city and police shifts will be extended to 12 hours. Earlier this week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel ordered police to “secure every part of the city” in preparation for the July 4th holiday, when Chicago typically sees an uptick in violent crime.
In addition to Chicago, expect roadblocks throughout the Chicagoland area, including the suburbs.
So please have a safe and healthy Fourth of July weekend. And don’t drink and drive!