Illinois Police Adding Extra Halloween DUI Patrols

DUI roadblockGrants from the Illinois Department of Transportation are making it easier for many departments to police drunk drivers on Halloween and the holiday weekend.

Some departments are putting the extra funds towards DUI roadblocks, while others are simply using the funds to put more troopers on the road this weekend. The Lake County Sheriff’s office received a $135,000 grant from IDoT, and they plan to add roadblocks during most of the upcoming holidays.

“For this grant program, we anticipate conducting the enforcement campaigns during the weeks of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s (Day), the Super Bowl, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day,” the Lake County Board said.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office will also conduct “saturation patrols” during the Halloween weekend as they expect more people to take part in the holiday because it falls on a Friday. Similar patrols will take place in Will and Kendall County.

“Officers assigned to these details will be checking for impaired drivers, occupant/child restraint violations, cell phone violations, and other violations of the Illinois Vehicle Code,” said Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton.

Extra Emphasis

As noted above, the extra emphasis on pedestrian safety this Halloween is due in part to the fact that the holiday falls on a Friday. This means more teens and adults will be off to spooky parties on the same night that ghosts and ghouls hit the streets to go Trick or Treating.

As USA Today reports, Halloween is by far the most dangerous day for children in terms of being struck by vehicles. A 20-year study conducted between 1990 and 2010 found that an average of 5.5 people under the age of 18 are killed by vehicles each year on Halloween. That’s more the double the average of every other day on the calendar.

So it’s no wonder that Illinois police want to ramp up DUI patrols this Halloween. The holiday is already the most dangerous day for kids before you factor in drunk drivers. If you’re going to a Halloween party this weekend, please plan a sober ride.

Related source: News Sun, The Times Weekly, USA Today


Illinois Law: Sex Offenders and Halloween 

Illinois Halloween LawsHalloween is just around the corner, and children will soon be running up and down driveways in hopes of filling their candy bucket to the brim. We’re often busy on Halloween too, as the night usually brings a spike in calls for certain juvenile crimes like ding dong ditching and vandalism.

Halloween night carries a common theme for anyone with a child; Be mindful of strangers. Parents usually chaperone younger kids on their Halloween jaunt, and oftentimes they’ll inspect the candy before the tired youngsters dive into a late-night sugar rush, but police are once again providing parents with a Halloween safety tip – Avoid homes where the lights are off. Maybe the lights are off because nobody is home or they simply don’t want to be disturbed, but there could be another reason. The person inside could be a sex offender.

That line isn’t meant to postulate that every dark house is home to a pedophile, but the fact of the matter is that Illinois passed a law last year called the Child Sex Offender Holiday Costume Prohibition law. Terms of the law state that convicted sex offenders are prohibited from participating in a holiday event with children under the age of 18. This means that sex offenders are forbidden from handing out candy on Halloween.

“If the lights aren’t on at the residence, don’t go up to the door,” said O’Fallon Police Lt. Jim Cavins. “What sex offenders must do … similar to somebody who doesn’t want to deal with trick-or-treaters … they have to turn out their outside lights.”

Similar to last Halloween when the law went into effect, police officers will be completing compliance checks to ensure offenders are following the law. If an officer finds that an offender is in violation of the law, they could face revocation of parole and additional jail time.

We’re not trying to scare anyone with this post, and the vast majority of reformed sex offenders want nothing to do with handing out candy on Halloween, but a simple reminder of the law can’t hurt.

Follow these tips to have a safe and happy Halloween!

1.  Trick or Treat in well-lit, familiar neighborhoods.

2.  Always make sure children are supervised by an adult.

3.  Bring a flashlight to see where you are going (and to help others see you!)

4.  Report any suspicious behavior to the proper authorities.

5.  If you or a family member runs into legal trouble on Halloween night, give Appelman & Associates a call.

Related source: Belleville News-Democrat

Illinois Lawmakers To Discuss Police Body Cameras Friday

Police Body CamerasMembers of the Illinois House Judiciary Committee will meet today to discuss the possibility of outfitting police officers with body cameras, and how the cameras could affect other laws.

More police departments are looking into the idea of outfitting officers with recording devices in the wake of the events in Ferguson, Missouri. Many proponents of the cameras say they’ll keep officers and civilians on their best behavior, but others wonder if the constant recording is an invasion of privacy. Legislators also want to discuss who has access to the recordings once they’re filed.

“Where is that data stored?”asked Democratic state Rep. Elaine Nekritz. “How much of it is kept (and) for how long? And then who has access to it? Does the media have access to every interaction?”

The discussion will also be used to help write eavesdropping legislation in the near future. Earlier this year the Illinois Supreme Court rejected an eavesdropping proposal after the law was deemed too broad.

Rep. Nekritz outlined some more talking points that will be discussed Friday.

“Everything from: when is the camera on? Do the police have to give notice to everyone that they talk to that they’re recording? Are there some conversations that are protected? If you have a victim of domestic violence that is interacting with a policeman, does that have to be recorded,” Nekritz said.

Other departments across the nation have adopted police body cameras, and the early reports show that they have been successful in preventing conflict and complaints. The Rialto Police Department in California equipped each officer with body cameras, and an analysis of department data uncovered a 50 percent drop in the total number of use-of-force incidents and a ten-fold reduction in the number of citizen complains in the 12 months following their adoption.

Brett Appelman comments

The prospect of being recorded keeps everyone on their best behavior because they don’t want to be seen or caught in a negative light. Not only would cameras remind people to act more civilized, the recording would act as a third party observer. Far too often cases come down to he said-she said arguments, and without a neutral witness, it can be hard to discern who is telling the truth.

Based on everything I’ve heard about body cameras, it sounds as if the question is more “When will police get them” than “Will police get them?” The equipment, storage, processing and review doesn’t come cheap, but it’s an investment that would easily pay for itself in terms of a reduction of lawsuits against police. Considering the Chicago Police Department paid out $500 million in settlements over the last decade, the cameras would likely pay for themselves countless times over.

Related source: Daily Herald, Northern Public Radio

Movie Technology Helping Combat Crime in Chicago 

Minority ReportIf you haven’t seen the movie Minority Report, try to track down a copy this weekend. Without giving away too much of the plot, the movie centers around a futuristic way to prevent crime. With the help of three precognitive humans, known as “precogs,” the Washington DC police department can essentially look into the future and prevent crime before it occurs. The movie takes a twist when one of the precogs has a vision that the main character, played by Tom Cruise, will commit murder, and thus a warrant is issued for his arrest. A chase ensues, all while the viewer contemplates the moral ramifications of the idea, “Can you be guilty of a crime without attempting it?”

While we don’t yet have precogs on the police force, the Chicago PD is using a similar technology in hopes of deterring future crimes. The technology attempts to look into the future using a mathematical algorithm to formulate a list of individuals deemed likely to be involved in a crime. The names the formula spits out land on what the CPD calls its “heat list.”

Unlike Minority Report, a person on the list isn’t arrested or tried for a future crime, but they are informed that the police are keeping a close eye on their actions. Police believe the extra attention can help deter crime.

“This program will become a national best practice,” said CPD Commander Jonathan Lewin. “This will inform police departments around the country and around the world on how best to utilize predicative policing to solve problems. This is about saving lives.”

At What Cost?

While the technology sounds harmless enough, as a person wouldn’t end up on the list unless they met several factors – another CPD Commander put it bluntly, saying “if you end up on this list, there’s a reason you’re there” – and even then they only get a warning from the police, those who oppose the technology say it’s invasive, and at times, racist.

The exact science behind the algorithm remains hidden, and a Freedom of Information request to obtain the list was denied out of safety concerns, saying its release could “endanger the life or physical safety of law enforcement personnel or any other person.” Without knowing how someone ends up on the list, some wonder if it relies too heavily on demographic information, like age, ethnicity and living location. Some fear this could unfairly target minorities.

“First of all, how are we deciding who gets on the list and who decides who gets on the list?” said attorney Hanni Fakhoury. “Are people ending up on this list simply because they live in a crappy part of town and know people who have been troublemakers? We are living in a time when information is easily shareable and easily accessible, so, let’s say we know that someone is connected to another person who was arrested. Or, let’s say we know that someone’s been arrested in the past. Is it fair to take advantage of that information? Are we just perpetuating the problem?”

He added, “How many people of color are on this heat list? Is the list all black kids? Is this list all kids from Chicago’s South Side? If so, are we just closing ourselves off to this small subset of people?”

Without going into any details, the National Insititute of Justice, which provides grants to police departments interested in using predictive technology, simply stated that the algorithm only finds people “who the model has determined are those most likely to be involved in a shooting or homicide, with probabilities that are hundreds of times that of an ordinary citizen.”

So where do you land on the spectrum? Do you believe police departments should be able to profile and compile lists of potential criminals, or do you believe the technology is crossing into murky legal waters?

Related source: The Verge

Illinois Lawmakers Increase Penalties For Fake IDs

Fake ID IllinoisIllinois lawmakers are attempting to cut down on fake ID use by increasing the penalties associated with unlawful possession of an ID.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White said the state is launching a new campaign called “Fake IDs…The Real Truth” in hopes of discouraging individuals from seeking out forged IDs.

White said the majority of fake identification offenders are college kids looking to buy alcohol or get into a bar, but the seemingly harmful crime can have huge real world implications. Aside from the possible criminal penalties, White warns that some websites offering fake IDs with real information are actually fronts to seize and sell personal information.

“On top of breaking the Illinois law, and risking their driving privileges, these students are putting themselves at risk for identity theft,” he said.”

White added that his office has caught more than 1,200 individuals in possession of a fake ID over the last two years.

Fake ID Penalties in Illinois

The penalties for possession a fake ID in Illinois are severe. A person can be subject to all the following penalties under Illinois law:

• Up to 1-3 years in jail

• A fine of $500 to $25,000

• 50 hours of community service

• A one-year driver’s license suspension

White seemed pretty adamant that anyone arrested for possession of a fake ID will have their driver’s license suspended for a year, so it’s imperative that you seek legal counsel if you are arrested for fake ID possession in Illinois. A stupid mistake shouldn’t put your college career and employment in jeopardy because you are stranded without a car for a full year. We’re more than happy to talk to you and provide you with a free case review to go over your options.

Related source: Central Illinois Proud