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Just what every college needs

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois Emergency Services Vehicles

Just what every college needs

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
January 29, 2011

Ford Crown Victoria

Sitting in the parking lot at McHenry County College (MCC) this morning was this "police" car. Is it one of the two Ford interceptors for which the Trustees authorized $68,000 last summer? It is already equipped with a driver's side spotlight and emergency lights mounted inside the vehicle.

Since the vehicle has been delivered and is now dirty, is it to be assumed that it will be operated as an unmarked vehicle? Or will it be painted and striped with easily-recognizable markings, so that any student or other person will quickly recognize it as a police car?

And, because it has already been equipped with emergency lights, can it now even be operated by MCC's security staff, who are not police officers on the college's campus? Some of them may be police officers of local towns, but will that give them the legal right to operate an unmarked police car owned by the College?

I have written before that I disagree with the purchase of Ford interceptors for use on the MCC campus. Who are they going to run down? Parking violators? Some student who parks his shiny, new car across two parking spaces?

Are they going to pursue drivers who disregard the 15MPH speed limit at 60-80MPH? That speed limit isn't even enforceable. They can't even writing a speeding ticket to a driver who ignores the 15MPH speed limit. And they might not even be able to enforce the no-passing zones on the perimeter roads. And will they be leaving the campus to "assist" Crystal Lake Police, McHenry County Sheriff's deputies, or Woodstock Police and have to run "hot" up or down U.S. 14 to get to the point of assistance?

The new MCC President made a huge mistake to purchase the two Fords and to ask the Trustees to create a campus police department. The College serves 7,000 mostly-part-time students as a two-year college with no on-campus housing. Bad, bad move. And I forecast it will turn out to be much more expensive an operation than the Trustees and she expect.

Got a question about whether the 15MPH speed limit or the no-passing zone can be enforced? Make two phone calls, and write down the answers you get and who gives you the answers.

1. Call MCC Security.
2. Call the Crystal Lake Police Department.

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