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Does McHenry County need ISP troopers?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Does McHenry County need ISP troopers?

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
March 26, 2010


Cal Skinner has written a long article on www.mchenrycountyblog.com about the Illinois State Police and its work in northern Illinois over the years.

Will troopers be missed north of I-90, if cuts affect 600 trooper jobs statewide?

I predict we'll see little change in McHenry County.

Here's what we'll miss...

Four-five State Police cars parked, while troopers run a seatbelt detail.

Seatbelt compliance is already at a record high in the State. I suppose you could put a trooper, deputy or cop at the end of every driveway and parking lot exit and raise compliance to 99.9%. We can't afford that; we don't want that.

How about a few billboards? Maybe even the mobile billboard trucks, like the one in Woodstock yesterday. They cost a lot less than a $90,000 trooper.

How about using the electronic signs on the Tollway? Throw a few switches, figure out the spelling of "Use seatbelts!" and hit "Send".

Or just publicize the names of the stupid drivers who crashed their cars while they were sitting on their seatbelts?

Back in 1997 and 1998, when I was commuting from Woodstock to Hoffman Estates, I used to ask the State Police to target no-passing-zone violators on County roads and drivers on Route 47 south of Woodstock who passed on the shoulders to avoid left-turning vehicles.

The sheriff's department was never available to patrol on 47 at Ballard Road, and the State Police told me that they didn't patrol in McHenry County.

Local police chiefs fear the State Police won't be able to cooperate with them on sobriety checkpoints. Well, I for one learned how they do that. They save manpower and gas by just calling up and telling a boss not to let his employees get liquored up at a tavern that night. Of course, it's not the individual trooper who makes that decision. An individual trooper would write a DUI ticket to anyone, even another cop or deputy.

Several years ago I was in a restaurant where a State Police detail was having a meal. I stopped at their table to inquire what their assignment had been - a seatbelt detail. They were cautious with their words, but their facial expressions showed their disgust at having wasted their time on such a detail. I was sure they wanted to be out doing what they were trained to do - catching serious traffic violators and not blowing their time on a stupid seatbelt detail.

So I think we won't miss the State Police very much in McHenry County. Let them be free to chase down 80MPH speeders, tailgaters, lane-weavers and other reckless drivers. You know, the ones that cause and have the serious accidents.

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