State Police plans increased cooperation with Chicago Police Department; photo speed enforcement cameras to provide revenue for 500 more troopers, elite tactical teams
To further enhance traffic safety and reduce fatalities, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that the Illinois State Police (ISP) will join the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) in a new enforcement program that would put speed cameras on highways to crack down on reckless drivers.
This new program involves reducing the speed of motorists on Illinois interstates with the deployment of Photo Speed Enforcement (PSE) cameras. PSE cameras will be deployed on each interstate throughout Illinois. An administrative citation will be generated as a result of the PSE camera. The goal of these cameras is to target motorists who chose to drive at excessive speeds. The revenues generated from the initiative would be targeted to hire an additional 500 troopers to the ranks of the Illinois State Police over the next three years.
“The Illinois State Police have already done an exceptional job reducing the number of lives lost from traffic crashes,” said Governor Blagojevich. “The use of speed enforcement cameras on interstate highways throughout Illinois will mean that even more lives will be saved by targeting motorist that drive at excessively high and reckless speeds. At the same time, we will try to assist the Chicago Police Department in reducing gun-related crimes.”
Sen. John Cullerton (D-Chicago) praised the Governor’s public safety initiative.
“This is not only the right step, but also a necessary step to improve public safety in Illinois. One third of all highway fatalities are attributable to excess speed,” Sen. Cullerton said. “I was proud to sponsor the red light photo enforcement legislation that dramatically reduced fatalities in the areas where it is in use, and I look forward to working with the Governor and my peers in the General Assembly to quickly make this common sense proposal a reality to further reduce fatalities.”
The PSE cameras will be strategically placed in high speed corridors and high crash areas as determined by enforcement and crash data.
“As we continue to aggressively seek new ways to enhance public safety, the Illinois State Police welcomes this new approach to encourage motorists to slow down. Although we’ve clearly made progress to reduce fatalities, I believe we can do better,” said ISP Director Larry G. Trent.
“Photo speed enforcement has been an effective tool in work zones across the state in helping to reduce fatal crashes. By implementing this initiative on the interstate systems we will only increase our efforts about the importance of following the posted speed limit on Illinois roadways. Speeding is one of the top contributing factors in crashes on Illinois roadways and we are pleased to help drive any effort forward that contributes to saving more lives,” said IDOT Secretary Milt Sees.
With the additional 500 troopers hired with revenue from the new safety initiative, the ISP will create 10 elite Statewide Enforcement Teams to focus on gangs, guns and criminal and traffic activity within communities throughout the state who are experiencing high crime. The remaining officers will focus on all aspects of public safety including some new initiatives such as; an Anti-DUI Strike Force, Fatal Crash Investigative Follow-up Teams, Child Victimization and Death Review Units and Cold Case Homicide Investigations.
Meanwhile, effective immediately, the Illinois State Police will also work in conjunction with the Chicago Police Department, re-deploying troopers to the Chicago area in an attempt to reduce violent crime in the city of Chicago and collar communities. Multiple Strategic Enforcement Teams (SET) will increase patrols in the area, experienced investigators will be assigned to the Chicago Police Department (CPD) Anti-Gun Enforcement (CAGE) Unit, and Criminal Intelligence Analysts will be reassigned to create a Gang Intelligence Unit.
The SETs will patrol the Dan Ryan and Eisenhower Expressways near high crime areas within the city of Chicago. ISP officers will aggressively enforce Illinois traffic and criminal laws and assist CPD within the city as requested. ISP officers will also patrol high crime areas in the collar communities.
Investigators assigned to CAGE will concentrate their efforts on tracing the history of weapons located at or near crime scenes. Instead of focusing exclusively on the crime itself, CAGE realizes gun violence can be reduced by investigating individuals who purchased guns used in crimes. Officers will focus on arresting and prosecuting the purchasers of weapons who are the source of illegal weapons.
The ISP will also appoint a statewide Gang Coordinator and expand the Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center through the assignment of Criminal Intelligence Analysts. Analysts will work 24/7 on this initiative to provide a strategic focus for statewide gang intelligence concentrating on gang hierarchy, methods of gang operations, and gang territories. Additional ISP resources including fixed wing air support and manpower for special events are available upon request by CPD.