Residents complain of police checkpoints outside complex

June 17, 2008 4:41:14 PM PDT
The owners of a housing complex in northwest suburban Rolling Meadows say a blockade set up by police outside the facility is illegal.On Tuesday, they filed a federal lawsuit to have it removed. Police have placed concrete barriers and checkpoints inside the complex earlier this month after a series of violent incidents and a string of thefts.

The Rolling Meadows Police Department says they surveyed residents in all of the apartment complex's 692 units. One of the questions asked was whether residents would like to see a larger police presence. They say 67 percent said yes.

Residents were never asked, however, if they wanted all but one of the complex's access points blocked off. And that is what happened.

For the last eight days, those wanting to go in or out of the 34-acre 12 Oaks apartment complex have been limited to just one entrance. Before, they had 13. The police department says they put up the blockades after a majority of the residents said they would like to see an increase in police presence.

"We seem to be taking report after report after report regarding activity here. What we've done is gone down to provide information that can help them not become victims of crime," said Dep. Chief Dave Scanlin, Rolling Meadows Police Dept.

Deputy Chief Scanlin says there've been 22 burglaries at 12 Oaks in the last six months. But the complex's ownership, Sparks and Associates, says the police department's claims are exaggerated and on Tuesday their lawyers filed a lawsuit in federal court calling the blockades a violation of residents' civil rights.

"The village of Rolling Meadows has essentially said we can blockade a community for the sole purpose of handing out flyers," said Blake Horowitz, attorney.

The flyers in question were being handed out at a checkpoint that was absent Tuesday. Attorney Elliot Richardson says that some residents are being asked for I.D. before being allowed inside.

"It's not OK. No one wants to be asked for I.D. on their way home. It's unnecessary and unconstitutional," said Richardson.

Scanlin, however, denies officers have asked residents for I.D. or limited their access in any other way. As for what residents think of the blockades, opinions were divided, but leaning in favor of them, despite the added inconvenience.

"There were too many entrances. No biggie. It's good. I think it's good," said Damian Cadena, 12 Oaks resident.

"I think it's a very good idea, coming home from work, not feeling safe at night. It helps us out a lot," said Cecilia Hartman, 12 Oaks resident.

"I've always felt safe. There are children playing outside. I don't think it's warranted," said Kerry Casey, 12 Oaks resident.

The blockades will stay in place at least two more weeks, and police say they're already seeing positive results. On Wednesday, lawyers for Sparks and Associates will file a temporary restraining order that they hope will translate into the immediate removal of the barricades.


Load Comments