Friday, Sept. 2, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Area motorists should be on high alert both for Illinois State Police (ISP) officers and for drunk drivers. According to statistics released by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), last year over the three-day Labor Day weekend, 13 people were killed in car crashes — three of those fatal crashes involved drivers who tested positive for alcohol.
“State police will be out in force with local law enforcement to get drunk drivers off the road during the Labor Day weekend,” said ISP Col. Tad Williams in a recent statement. “Troopers will show zero tolerance for impaired driving and seat belt law violators. Designate a driver before going out, and always buckle up.”
According to Priscilla Tobias, who heads IDOT’s Office of Program Development, a “high number of fatal traffic crashes on Illinois roads occur late at night with an unacceptable amount involving drinking and motorists failing to buckle up.”
Although the ISP will be coordinating with IDOT and around 200 local law enforcement agencies in what it’s calling a “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, Maywood won’t be one of those local agencies participating.
“We had to notify (IDOT) that we aren’t going to be able to staff the officers, because we don’t have extra staff for the additional enforcement,” said Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley in a recent phone interview. “We have to have enough officers to provide protection for the village.”
Talley said the department is in the process of hiring five new officers, which he said should get the department back up to minimum capacity. He said he hopes those officers complete their academy training by Oct. 1.
Talley said that officers will nonetheless maintain an increased presence near high visibility locations around town, such as T & JJ’s banquet hall and Maywood Fine Arts. He also noted that they’ll be monitoring liquor stores in the village to “make sure we don’t have a lot of loitering going on.” VFP