After two years of muted St. Patrick’s Day revelry due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many suburban police officers are hopeful festivities this 12 months will not get out of hand now that many public well being precautions have been lifted.
“We do not know what to anticipate, however we hope for good selections,” mentioned Carol Stream Police Chief Invoice Holmer. “We wish individuals to get pleasure from themselves, however in a sensible approach.”
Carol Stream is certainly one of dozens of suburban departments which have elevated patrols for the subsequent week as a part of an annual statewide site visitors security initiative that targets impaired drivers in addition to seat belt scofflaws.
In 2020, the 12 months with essentially the most just lately accessible information, 89 departments within the six-county Chicago space issued 3,526 citations to drivers throughout the week round St. Patrick’s Day, together with 33 impaired driving arrests. That was down from 4,390 tickets issued and 69 impaired driving arrests made in 94 jurisdictions throughout roughly the identical time interval in 2019, in line with Illinois Division of Transportation data.
Grants from IDOT fund these further patrols throughout numerous holidays all year long that historically see higher-than-average crashes and fatalities.
Taking part legislation enforcement companies in Illinois obtained a mixed $338,040 in 2020 to cowl the time beyond regulation prices of the patrols for the week round St. Patrick’s Day. Police and sheriff’s places of work in Cook dinner, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties obtained greater than $185,000 of that for two,816 further hours of patrol, IDOT figures present.
“St. Patrick’s Day is a giant consuming vacation anyway,” mentioned Sgt. Mark Wondolkowski, head of the Hoffman Estates Police Division’s site visitors division. “And these are the forms of holidays or occasions the place we see a rise within the variety of crashes and fatalities.”
Two further four-hour shifts every day are supplied to Hoffman Estates officers throughout the eight days the initiative is in place. This 12 months it runs via March 18.
Wondolkowski mentioned the initiative shouldn’t be thought-about unsuccessful if no impaired driving arrests are made.
“These applications promote deterrence, enforcement and consciousness,” he mentioned. “So, if there is not a DUI arrest I believe that tells me the deterrence is working and motorists know we’re on the market trying, and generally that is sufficient for them to make smarter decisions.”
In 2020, greater than $3.4 million was paid to departments that participated within the numerous holiday-related and mini-enforcement campaigns, IDOT data present. However many initiatives have been canceled due to the pandemic.
In 2019, legislation enforcement companies statewide obtained greater than $11.1 million in reimbursements for the particular patrols that resulted in 2,118 impaired driving arrests and 186,187 whole citations issued. That interprets to almost $60 reimbursed for each ticket, IDOT data present.