News Flash

Village of Park Forest - Top Story News

Posted on: May 2, 2023

Park Forest Police Department takes proactive approach to combat speeding

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Many residents have complained that some drivers are speeding on area roadways putting themselves and others in danger. Park Forest police are aware of speeders, and Chief Paul Winfrey said his department would remain proactive and issue citations to those blowing past the speed limit.

"Park Forest PD has always held traffic safety enforcement, with dual goals of making our roadways safer and gaining compliance with the traffic laws," Winfrey said. "One phenomenon that came out of the pandemic nationwide was that aggressive driving and driving extremely fast increased nationwide."

Winfrey said over the past two years, the number of drivers cited or arrested for Aggravated Speeding (26 or more mph over the speed limit) had increased dramatically. In 2022, Park Forest police conducted over 3,100 traffic stops, the highest number in several years.

Winfrey added we are on track to exceed that number this year. Some have criticized the Village, saying it used to be a "speed trap town" and no longer exists. Winfrey noted he's seen people make similar comments and added that his department is still out in full force, stopping those with no regard for the speed limit.

"Our personnel have always and will always enforce traffic laws," Winfrey said. "Several factors have led to the impression, whether actual or perceived, that cars are not stopped for speeding as often in Park Forest. Nationwide, more people are speeding in general."

Winfrey mentioned the problem isn't Park Forest specific and added, "In speaking to my counterparts in other area communities, they hear the same concerns about speeding vehicles from residents and are working hard to address these concerns."

Winfrey said numerous factors take his officers from speed enforcement. As the police receive calls for service, particularly serious calls that require longer to investigate, increase, our personnel is unavailable for traffic enforcement more often. Considerable increases in mandated training take personnel "off the street" more often, reducing availability to stop traffic offenders.

However, Winfrey said his department is proactive by seeking resources to help combat speeding.

"We apply for and are provided with additional funding from the Illinois Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to have personnel 'hired-back' on overtime to conduct traffic enforcement," Winfrey said. "These grants have specific campaigns during timeframes that have historically seen increases in drunk driving, serious crashes, etc."

Winfrey said those campaigns typically happen on notable holidays like Independence Day and Memorial Day weekend. He also said Park Forest applies for additional funding to target speeding drivers.

"We apply for the maximum amount of funding available and have been fortunate to have received that amount each year," Winfrey said. "This allows personnel to focus 100% of their time on traffic enforcement, particularly speeding vehicles. We spread this funding yearly to maintain a constant additional presence."

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