Evanston police say they issued 69 citations for a variety of traffic violations during a four-hour period at the start of the Labor Day weekend.

The citations were issued during a roadside safety check on Howard Street near Ridge Avenue that ran from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday.

Evanston police say they issued 69 citations for a variety of traffic violations during a four-hour period at the start of the Labor Day weekend.

The citations were issued during a roadside safety check on Howard Street near Ridge Avenue that ran from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday.

The citations included six for driving under the influence, five for no valid driver’s license, six for suspended or revoked licenses, one warrant arrest and 52 other traffic-related violations.

Police Commander Tom Guenther says the enforcement action was designed to help reduce traffic accidents, injuries and fatalities. The safety checks emphasize the use of safety belts and child safety seats as well as deterring speeding and impaired driving violations.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Police state

    A friend and I passed through the "roadside safety check." We were not stopped, but I was appalled by this sickening  display of overreaching government power.  There had to be dozens of police officers at the scene and a dozen or so police vehicles including a huge tractor trailer which I suppose was there to confiscate the owners’ vehicles should they be unlucky enough to answer a question incorrectly.  They had several vehicles pulled over at a time and the Gestapo were interrogating and harrassing drivers occurring as we passed by.  It was the kind of scene that you would expect to see in a Stalinist Police State and not in a supposedly free republic.  The spectacle made it clear the we the citizens are viewed as targets and prey of an overbearing government whose goal it is to control our lives and to extract every last dollar from our wallets in order to subsist. 

    The spectacle also made it clear that we have way too many police officers on the payroll in Evanston.

    1. Police State Fact Checking

      Since when is a roadside safety check on Labor Day weekend a "police state?"  Never mind the fact that the event had been publicized for weeks and was funded by a state grant.  So, they issued 69 citations, good for the EPD. Personally, I would rather have a very minor inconvenience than the potential problems that were addressed.  Driving without a license or with a suspended license — no problem, until someone gets injured or killed (11 citations).  Good luck on collecting any money from an unlicensed driver after an accident.  Impaired driving — no problem, just stay off the streets and sidewalks (6 DUI citations).  A warrant arrest — just a bonus.  Driving in the State of Illinois is a privilege that comes with responsibilities.  Bravo to EPD for setting up the safety check and hopefully taking some danger off the roads.

      1. So you don’t pay any state income tax?

        Your logic that this is funded by a state gramt – is not too good – the state’s 26 billion dollar budget is 13 billion in the red.

        These seat belt traps are a waste of taxpayer’s money,  I have seen one accident caused by a seat belt trap in Evanston and watching another trap a car ended up running over the curb, almost losing control. These traps were set up at 5:00 pm -when people were coming home from work.

        Too much police man power is begining wasted, on these traps. 

        Your are correct the police can write you up for any minor issue, but is that a good use of public dollars.  By the way I see police officers all the time,in Evanston doing minor traffice violations. ( lets not pretend they are on police business )

        By the way a Chicago police officer hit one of my cars, first they wrote the ticket wrong to assume my kid was at fault, then they sent a corrected ticket since the state police looked at it. Given my kid was not hurt and it was an old car, I did not pursue it, good luck in getting a city to pay your for a accident, its like getting hit by an uninsured driver.

        If people get the impression Evanston is over ticketing for traffic, people will just stop coming here to shop and eat, so the city better be careful, they will go else where,  We don’t need the police here writing tickets to meet job quotas.


      2. Home Safety Checks

        You have totally changed my mind.  I now fully agree that the roadside safety check is just a minor inconvenience which is more than justified by the greater good.  After all, it did take a few potentially intoxicated lowlifes off the streets and it did catch other criminals who were not in full compliance with all of the statutory laws and regulations of Our Great Nation.  Hopefully all of these 69 scumbags were thrown into jail where they belong.  Personally, I recommend the death penalty for each and every one of them.

        Furthermore, I think we need to expand this "safety check" idea to people’s residences as well.  The police can go knocking from door to door to inspect people’s homes for safety violations and other instances of noncompliance with laws and regulations.  Can you imagine how many citations the police would be able to write?  No working smoke or carbon monixide alarms?  Citation!  Noncompliance with electrical or plumbing code?  Citation!  Household improvements for which the proper permits were not obtained?  Citation!

        Perhaps the police would find some illegal substances in some residents’ homes.  That would be a bonus because in additon to imprisoning these lowlifes, the City would be able to seize their property and sell it at auction under existing forfeiture laws.  Talk about a win-win!

        The police could also pull a sample of possessions from a homeowner’s residence and ask for proof that the proper sales and use taxes have been remitted on each item purchsed.  Computers could be scrubbed for illegal music downloads or other instances of copyright infringement.  Perhaps the police would find pornographic material on people’s computers that violate community decency standards. Of course, there would have to be ongoing monitoring of Citizens phone calls, internet usage and financial records in conjunction with Federal Agencies to ensure that any future noncompliance is swiftly captured and punished.

        These "home safety checks" will generate lots of revenue for the City and will hopefully get a bunch of scumbags thrown in jail to rot and die.  Naturally, no one with a clean conscience should be bothered by them.  Only the criminals with something to hide should be upset about it.   Those same criminals might whine about "civil rights" or "illegal search and seizure" or "the Constituion"  but to hell with them.  As long as one citation is issued, it’s all worth it!

        1. Nice try dp, but your

          Nice try dp, but your argument is like apples to oranges.

          Cars are mobile and travel on public roadways, funded by people like you and me.

          Impaired or otherwise illegal drivers are more apt to harm innocent drivers/pedestrians/bicyclists with their irresponsable behavior.

          Not sure on the statistical numbers of impaired or illegal ‘at-home’ dwellers that perpetrate harm against citizens travelling past their residence.

          btw, city inspectors already have the authority ( I know you dislike this word) to issue permit violations, as well as any code violations.

          Once again a lame attempt at using scare tactics over facts. You speak in hypothetics rather than realities.


          1. Probable Cause

            I guess it comes down to a difference of opinion.  You support random searches and seizures of citizens by the State and I do not.  If someone has committed a legitimate traffic violation, then I suppose I do not have a problem with the Police pulling them over.  Once pulled over, if the Officer finds other violations, so be it. 

            I don’t agree with these Safety Checkpoints however because they amount to the State performing searches on a random basis, that is to say, without any probable cause.  The fourth Amendment of our Constitution has something to say on the subject:  "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

            Most of our elected officials and the public in general don’t care too much for what the Constitution has to say.  They don’t even respect it enough to formally amend it.  Rather, they simply ignore it or argue that it means something other than it says.  Perhaps you may believe that is an antiquated and irrelevant document.  I guess I have a little more respect for it than others.


    2. Are you kidding me?

      Did you read the headline? 69 citations! If you ask me, they should have stopped you. I think there should be more police catching drunk drivers and drug dealers in this city. You don’t like what the police are doing in Evanston, go live in Chicago where they shoot you while walking down the street. Better yet, try calling 911 in Chicago when there is something going down and see how long it takes for a response.

      Evanston Police…. KEEP UP THE OUTSTANDING WORK YOU DO. And if you can figure out who dp_witt is, pull them over, I’ll bet you find all kinds of violations.

      I suggest you subscribe to the police blotter issued by the Police Department on a daily basis and see what kind of crime is going on in this city.

      1. The ends does not justify the

        The ends does not justify the means, These roadside "safety checks" should be unconstitutional. What’s next, Home safety checks. Would you like cops just coming into your home and look around. the police justify these checks as "safety checks", if they were really safety checks, why don’t they check your fluids, belts, breaks, wipers, tires, etc. I think you get my point. they are nothing but a money making violation of our rights. And don’t tell me that driving is a privlidge and not a right. it’s still BS.

  2. Yes, I agree–all these

    Yes, I agree–all these sweetheart deals for the policemen, etc. have bankruped the average joe.

  3. Revenue streaming

    These roadside checks are not about keeping the roads safe.  They are about generating revenue for Evanston and the State of Illinois.

    If they were really about safety, they should be taking place every night all over the city and suburbs and not just at the easy-pickings location of Howard and Ridge on the Evanston-Chicago border.

    Imagine the stink that would be raised if motorists were similarily screened at Greenbay Rd. and Lake St. in Wilmette, or in downtown Evanston at Church and Sherman Aves., or in downtown Winnetka.

    No problem, though, setting one of these up in a thoroughfare through which a lot of minorities travel.

    "The spectacle made it clear the we the citizens are viewed as targets and prey of an overbearing government whose goal it is to control our lives and to extract every last dollar from our wallets in order to subsist."


    1. safety for all

      Law enforcement had a safety check setup last year on Dempster near McCormick. This is a main entry point into the city…for EVERYONE. It was targeted specifically for this reason, not because of any ethnic agenda. Ridge/Howard is another main entry point into the city. I wasn’t aware that minorities are only allowed to travel through certain entry points. I guess we really do live in a "police state." Perhaps you would rather the safety checks happen around Wesley/Crain, or Maple/Lee, or Judson/Lake. Those are some really high traffic areas that would net voluminous safety violations I’m sure. Stop your race baiting and try to stick to verifiable statistics, not scare tactics.

      I do agree that it would be nice to have unannounced regular safety checks everywhere and anywhere, especially speeding. Now there’s a great revenue enhancer.

    2. Uh oh! Did someone get a ticket?

      So your complaint is twofold. You say the purpose of the roadside safety check is for revenue raising, with a hint of racism.

      Brilliant observation(sarcasm intended), but wrong on both accounts. The roadside checks are an extremely effective method in removing impaired drivers from the roads. Additionally, they net other violations as well. This includes but is not limited to: Weapons, drivers with outstanding warrants, drugs, and removing drivers who do not have valid licenses or insurance. All of which impact the communities safety. 

      If, as you suggested, these safety checks were conducted "every night all over the city" we all would have a valid complaint about the excessive cost and intrusion on our freedoms. But they are not and never will be. It would also defeat the purpose of the program.

      Why do you imply the the location of Ridge/Howard is "easy-pickings"? Are you suggesting the motorists in this area are more often drunk? unlicensed? uninsured? armed? possessing drugs? wanted? generally unsafe? It sounds like you may have the racist views?

      Lastly,you should do a bit of fact checking before you compose your next comment. The last roadside safety check occurred directly in front of the Burger King at Orrington and Clark! Just two blocks away from your "Church and Sherman" suggestion. Nice attempt.

  4. Roadside checks

    I’m not sure the checks at the Chicago-Evanston border are all that great for generating revenue. The cops hate it, because it can get real dicey and difficult. But they do it anyway. Many of the people they catch don’t have the resources to pay fines, because they’re already dodging the system. They don’t have insurance, they don’t have valid city stickers, many are driving on suspended licenses or outstanding warrants, etc. How about we let these folks have their way with north Evanston, Wilmette, Winnetka and Glencoe?

    These checks don’t involve cops sitting on Golf Road nabbing middle class speeders, or Winnetka cops sitting in private driveways catching 16 year old New Trier speeders. These stops often result in some pretty challenging and life-threatening situations. The North Shore should be happy the EPD can walk the line between hard-ass Chicago crime cops and polite northern suburb cops. They have a really challenging job, and they are doing what they can to make all you North Shore folks feel like you’re safe and cozy.

    For years, we’ve seen major violation busts in the Howard area. Don’t you dare criticize this effort, because a great many offenders have been apprehended, at considerable risk for police officers. Every pull-over is an incident waiting to happen. I would like to see Wilmette cops handle these situations. Hah.

    As to generating big-time revenue: how many drivers without licenses, or suspended licenses, or guns or drugs in their cars have the resources to even pay the fines levied against them? Does someone with a suspended license even have car insurance? Probably not. But the point is that our cops are doing the job for you privileged folks in north Evanston and suburbs farther north, to protect you from these crumb-balls who would be all over you like white on rice if we weren’t here to protect you.

    With limited resources, the police have to target areas with the highest potential for "success."  And if the Howard "gateway" to Evanston is that place, then folks in north Evanston, Wilmette and Winnetka should be grateful the EPD is stopping this at the border so you can all enjoy your peaceful suburban life, pretending that crime is someone else’s problem. Would you prefer drunk drivers make their way up Sheridan Road and crash into your kids? Or perhaps a drug dealer heading to a quiet street in north Evanston to sell drugs to your children?

    Denial is powerful,  but quit spouting your "live and let live" philosophy unless you are willing to experience the consequences of liberal denial.

    1. Targeted stops

      This is a very interesting post from someone who appears to be on the "inside."  It also appears to be an admission that the traffic stops were indeed "targeted" as some others have suggested.  Some people had a higher probability of being stopped than others.  This would help to explain why my friend and I cruised through the check without a problem:  the police were not interested in us.

      I am not arguing with the results.  I’m sure that the stops did get some bad people off the road.  I just would like to point out that these types of stops probably are not Constitutional under a strict reading of the document and also that "targeted" stops will sooner or later result in a huge Civil Rights lawsuit being slapped against the City that we will all have to pay for.

      1. Usually the checkpoints stop

        Usually the checkpoints stop every 4th or 5th car and the others, regardless of who is driving, how the car looks (except for obvious violations) pass through. Thus you may have been waved through because you weren’t the 5th car or whatever number was in effect that night.

  5. Catch the driving violations

    I have no complaint with the roadside checks—esp. to check for cell phone usage.

    However probably a bigger danger is caused by cars rushing through traffic in front of emergency vehicles.  Thursday evening a fire truck was coming towards Emerson and Maple and had sounded his horn from probably three or more blocks away.  However cars still turned in front of and others went straight through the intersection while the truck was less than 1/2 block away.  Cars also failed to stop or move to the side in the direction of traffic.  The trucks have only so much volume they can get out of their horns ! As anyone on the streets of Evanston knows, that is not a rare case.  Drivers don’t seem to realize they can cause an accident themselves, delay the truck from getting to a fire or medical emergency—-common sense would tell them that much.

    The police usually do not follow the fire equipment and if they did would have more important reasons to do so, but I wish they would shadow the trucks sometimes and ticket such drivers.

  6. Probable Cause

    Hey dp_witt .. While your busy quoting the constitution, be sure to include the supreme court decision that said the limited intrusion of roadblocks is far outweighed by the safety provided to the community by getting impaired drivers off the roadway. Check the stats on the amount of people killed / injured by drunk drivers … or ask a victim of a drunk driver how they feel about the efforts made by police to remove drunks from the roads …. by the way … the stops are not "random" as you would like people to believe. The supreme court did prohibit random stops. There has to be a set system to the stop … every fifth car, every seventh car, etc. Sorry to blow your theory ….

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