Police Departments will be out in force for the Holidays


From CBS local:

Police and sheriff’s departments across Illinois are stepping up patrols to try to reduce alcohol- and drug-related crashes this holiday season.

The Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police say the stepped up enforcement started this week and will continue through Jan. 2. It will be in effect at all hours, with heightened efforts in the evening.

The efforts will include DUI and distracted driving patrols as well as roadside safety checks and seatbelt enforcement zones.

Illinois is experiencing its second straight year of more than 1,000 motor vehicle deaths. Last year 1,078 people died in vehicle crashes on Illinois roads.

Illinois State Police Director Leo P. Schmitz is urging anyone who sees an unsafe driver to call 911 and report them.


From the Chicago Tribune:

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has announced that an increased traffic enforcement program for the holiday season will begin Monday and run through Jan. 2.

The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” traffic safety enforcement campaign will focus on impaired driving and other violations, officials said.

“Beginning Monday, Dec. 18 and continuing into 2018, motorists will see increased traffic safety enforcement,” Sheriff Mark Curran said in a release. “Deputies will focus on those driving impaired, distracted, or without a seat belt. If you plan to drink, plan for a safe ride home.”

Curran said those drinking should have incentives not to drive, and a plan to avoid doing so.

“Today, there are more transportation options than ever. Find one you’re comfortable with and use it,” he said.


And from the Oak Lawn Patch:

The Oak Lawn Police Department has stepped up DUI patrols from now through the early morning hours of Jan. 2 to keep drivers and passengers safe as they search for alcohol and drug impaired drivers. Residents and those motoring through the village will notice an enhanced police presence on the streets, , as part of the year-end Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement. Officers will also be looking for drivers and passengers who aren’t buckled up.

According to Sgt. M. Acke, 37,461 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States. Of those killed, 28 percent (10,497) died in crashes in which a driver had a blood-alcohol concentration over the limit of 0.08. Other nearby towns that have announced DUI patrols including Palos Park, Palos Heights and Orland Park.

“We are committed to doing whatever it takes to help save lives by keeping impaired drivers off the road,” Acke said.

You get the idea.

So, please, have a safe, happy (and arrest-free) holiday.

Chicago Police will be conducting DUI enforcement on the North Side Saturday night

According to a Press Report from the Chicago Police:

The Chicago Police Department will be conducting a DUI Saturation Patrol in the Lincoln (020th) District this weekend. The DUI Saturation Patrol will commence at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 12th, 2017 and end at 3:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 13th, 2017.  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. Patrols also place emphasis on speed, alcohol-related and safety belt
violations. Police vehicles equipped for speed detection are deployed to apprehend speeding violators.


From DNAInfo:

Police officers will be on the lookout for drunken drivers and speeders Saturday night during a DUI Strike Force Patrol planned for North Side neighborhoods including Lincoln Square, Uptown and Andersonville.

Officers will also be looking for people not wearing seatbelts and other violations.

The strike force patrol will run from 7 p.m. Saturday-3 a.m. Sunday, throughout the Lincoln Police District.

Headquartered at 5400 N. Lincoln Ave., the district is bounded by Lake Michigan, the Chicago River, Lawrence and Peterson avenues.

Communities served by the district include Lincoln Square, Uptown, Edgewater, Andersonville, Bowmanville and Budlong Woods.

Elmhurst Police to conduct Roadside Safety Checks Saturday night

From the Patch:

On Saturday, Aug. 12, a roadside safety checkpoint will take place on a major roadway in Elmhurst, according to the release. The safety checkpoint will begin at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday night and continue until 3:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. During the safety checkpoint, vehicles will be stopped at a predetermined interval and checked for violations.

DUI Crackdown Coming To The South Side This Weekend – Bridgeport – DNAinfo Chicago


Tribune story sheds light on Berwyn’s unconstitutional DUI roadblocks

Thanks to our constitutional protections, drivers are supposed to be free from being stopped by the police unless there is either some articulable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot, or that there is an outstanding warrant for a person in the vehicle, or that the police, in their capacity as “community caretakers” see a valid reason to make an inquiry, for example, about the state of a person’s health.

However, our courts have created a constitutional exception which allows police to conduct roadblocks, but this police power has been limited by certain restrictions.  First purpose of the roadblock must outweigh the intrusion on motorists.  In addition, other factors include (a) whether the decision to establish the roadblock and its site was made by supervisory-level personnel; (b) whether the stops were made in a pre-established, systematic fashion (for example, stopping every fifth car); (c) there must be written guidelines on the operation of the roadblock; (d) it must be clear to motorists that this is an official police operation; and (e) there must be advance publicity to warn the public.

Yet, in today’s Chicago Tribune, there is a story by Angela Caputo showing that the Berwyn Police department which reveals that stops conducted in that City were not made in a pre-established, systematic fashion as required by law.

From the Tribune:

Police officials had ratcheted up the pressure on officers to fill a ticket quota, and a sworn statement by a Berwyn police official and obtained by the Tribune shows the department failed to follow federal guidelines in the stops, enabling police to make contact with more drivers than they might have otherwise.

The guidelines were created decades ago to give officers clear parameters for how to operate the stops in an effort to protect drivers from being profiled. The rules require departments to draft a protocol for randomly stopping drivers, and officers typically stop every third or fifth car to check for a valid driver’s license, insurance card and equipment violations. Some drivers are pulled into a secondary screening area, and their names are often run through the secretary of state’s records.

On June 28, 2014, a traffic light was reset to slow drivers as they passed through the single lane bounded by cones.As Berwyn officers steered select drivers into the parking lot of a Midas Muffler shop, a secondary checkpoint where tickets were handed out, deciding whose driving record to run or which car would be scrutinized for additional violations. “Multiple citations were written and some arrests were made,” according to the police report.

Berwyn police Chief Jim Ritz defended how his department handled that checkpoint and said they conducted others in the same manner although he did not immediately have specifics on those. He said his department’s “softer version” of roadside checks is sanctioned by the state.

“It shows that we’re out there,” Ritz said, “making the streets safer for people to drive on.”

Checks like the one in Berwyn that impede traffic do not follow IDOT protocol, agency spokesman Guy Tridgell said.

Berwyn is a mid-size near west suburb of about 57,000 people, yet it issued the third-most citations of any municipality in Illinois during the 2014 grant year through DUI patrols at night, behind only Chicago and Calumet City. The patrols included both roadside checks and other special enforcement and netted more than 1,700 citations. Less than 1 percent led to DUI arrests, the primary goal of the campaign, an analysis of state records shows.

It’s been 50 years since the U.S. Supreme Court signed off on sobriety checkpoints, yet they remain a thorny civil liberties issue.

“It’s very important that there is a criteria for selecting cars that are going to be checked,” said Adam Schwartz, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. “It’s unconstitutional to have officers picking and choosing who they want to stop.”

When cars were diverted and the traffic signal was changed, experts say, it had all of the makings of a checkpoint. High ranking officers renamed the patrol a “flexible” roadside check, Police Department records show, but state transportation officials, who administer the federally funded enforcement, say the enforcement was not authorized.

DePaul University law professor Susan Bandes said the practice of setting up the stops without a neutral criteria — like randomly stopping every third or fifth car — amounted to an “open season” on drivers.

Ritz shrugged off the suggestion that the stops have been become ticket mills where drivers are primarily cited for relatively minor offenses. Correspondence obtained by the Tribune, however, illustrates the pressure within the department to issue citations if officers want to remain eligible for valuable overtime pay. In announcing the patrol last June, Sgt. Chris Anisi wrote in a departmentwide email: “Failure to write a sufficient number of tickets will affect the officer’s ability to work future grants.”

“Our goal,” he wrote, “is three tickets an hour.”

For every drunken driver arrested through the stops in Berwyn last year, an additional 145 tickets were handed out. More than half of the citations were for seat belt violations, a secondary goal of the enforcement. Statewide, nearly 90,000 similar violations were issued during DUI patrols and checkpoints in 2014. On average, 3 percent of the citations issued in Illinois amounted to a DUI arrest.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration funded the nighttime patrols with nearly $6.3 million, largely to cover overtime costs. Federal officials haven’t attached ticket quotas to the grant money for DUI crackdowns, but state transportation officials said they have adopted quotas as a “performance measure” to ensure accountability.

Once police officers have full discretion as to who they are going to investigate, the roadblock devolves into random police stops without justification.  Police can choose to harass people because of their race, ethnic background, age, perceived income level, or just because they are bored.  In other words, it becomes a police state.

Read the full story here (behind the Tribune’s paywall):  http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/ct-berwyn-dui-checkpoints-met-20150920-story.html

Tribune finds that Chicago Police continue to conduct DUI Roadblocks mainly in black and latino neighborhoods

I am going to liberate a large chunk of this story by Angela Caputo from behind the Chicago Tribune’s paywall.  However, before you get to this, I do have to make note that although the Chicago Police Department has not set up DUI roadblocks in white areas such as Jefferson Park, they have done DUI strike force patrols, which sometimes includes the use of the mobile breath alcohol testing unit which is normally used during roadblocks.  Perhaps the Police Department was hoping it could get the Tribune off its back by doing the strike patrols without having to enrage the community (which has a heavy concentration of Chicago Police officers living there) with backups and delays caused by roadside safety checks.

Here is Ms. Caputo’s report:

Months after revealing the Chicago Police Department set up sobriety checkpoints almost exclusively in African-American and Latino communities, the Tribune has found that the pattern continues.

Between March and August, Chicago police scheduled 14 roadside checks, pulling over drivers randomly to check for drunken driving and other violations. Nine of the checks were in majority black police districts. Four checkpoints occurred in a predominantly Latino districts. There was one in a majority white area. That’s despite the fact that the Tribune has in the past shown some predominantly white districts in Chicago had more alcohol-related crashes than many minority districts.

Of Chicago’s 22 police districts, nine are majority black, five white, four Latino and four have no racial majority.

No corner of the city had more checkpoints than the Harrison District on the city’s West Side, where police have scheduled three of the random stops since March. An earlier Tribune analysis of state traffic data found that the majority black district ranked 10th out of the city’s 22 districts for the number of alcohol-related crashes in recent years.

The Englewood District followed closely behind in crashes, yet police scheduled two roadside checks in the predominantly African-American South Side district in recent months. On March 20, police scheduled a checkpoint in the majority black Grand Crossing District even though the area has had the fewest alcohol-related crashes in the city.

Meanwhile, no checkpoints were scheduled in the majority white Jefferson Park District despite ranking third citywide for the number of alcohol-related crashes and fatalities. Police officials have maintained the lack of checkpoints there has nothing to do with the fact that roughly one-fifth of the city’s police officers and their families live there.

The May Tribune report analyzed Chicago DUI checkpoints from 2010 through June of last year and compared the data with crash data by police district. The Tribune found no checkpoints had been conducted in the Jefferson Park District since at least February 2010…

Police use crash and citation data and complaints to decide where to set up roadside checks or conduct roving DUI patrols, Guglielmi said. Authorities used roving DUI patrols in white districts in recent months, which, experts say, are a less visible deterrent but can be more effective in snaring drunken drivers. Such patrols, however, require probable cause before pulling over a vehicle, whereas checkpoints enable police to make contact with drivers who ordinarily would not have been stopped…

The Illinois Department of Transportation reports that $470,000 was spent largely on overtime to cover both types of nighttime enforcement in 2014. Chicago police logged more violations than any other municipality in Illinois that year. Of the nearly 7,300 citations issued, 244 involved a drunken driving arrest. That amounted to 30 citations — primarily for minor moving and nonmoving violations — for every drunken driver arrested.

The checkpoints and roving patrols, including overtime, are paid for with federal grant money. Federal guidelines require departments to use objective criteria, such as a high incidence of alcohol-related crashes, to determine where to set up the checks and patrols.

In May, the Tribune revealed that during the last five years, 84 percent of the 152 sobriety checkpoints scheduled in Chicago occurred in areas populated mostly by minorities while roadways in areas with more DUI-related crashes that are predominantly white are checked less often or not at all.

The data showed no clear indication that a high number of checkpoints is correlated with few alcohol-related crashes. Some police districts with few checkpoints also had few crashes. Some districts with several checkpoints also had a high number of crashes.

If you have a subscription to the Tribune, you can read the whole story here:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/ct-chicago-dui-checkpoints-met-20150909-story.html

Expect DUI roadblocks this Fourth of July Weekend — and not just in the usual spots

drivesoberIf 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!