We are writing this letter in opposition to senate bill 3411 and ask you to consider the following points regarding traffic enforcement and the positive effect it has on our communities.
As police chiefs we have a duty to our communities to reduce crime and make our residents feel safe. One of the single most successful and effective ways to address a spike in everything from nuisance type violations, serious and fatal crashes, robberies and burglaries, is to increase traffic enforcement in particular geographic areas or target specific violations such as speeding, seat belt usage, and distracted driving.
In addition to the effects that traffic enforcement has on crime, better than half the citizen complaints police departments receive are directly related to traffic concerns. Citizens want motorists to drive slower and act safer when in their neighborhoods.
Traffic tickets serve a purpose — they change driver behavior. Our ultimate goal is to stop people from committing traffic violations. Drivers make a conscious choice to obey traffic laws or not obey them.
With that said, law enforcement leaders should have the right to expect a certain work product from their officers, while not making the work product arbitrary. A recent Supreme Court decision in Park Ridge v. Begg, the courts found administrators have a right to impose reasonable performance expectations.
The text of this legislation would completely remove the power of a chief to expect any level of enforcement from any officer. If this legislation is enacted, when a citizen calls a police chief to complain about cars speeding up and down the street, the only answer a chief can give is “I can send over an officer but I can’t make them write any tickets.” The reality is, much like policies and procedures, most are in place for a small percentage of people who would otherwise not do the job.
Aggressive traffic enforcement is a win-win. It reduces crime and increases safety.
We do not support senate bill 3411 and ask that legislators vote “no,” and leave the decision of managing officers and developing realistic enforcement goals to the individual leaders of the law enforcement agencies that they serve.
Buffalo Grove Chief of Police Steven Casstevens
Mundelein Chief of Police Eric Guenther
Undersheriff Raymond J. Rose
Lake County Sheriff’s Office