Chicago police, city officials announce Memorial Day Weekend traffic enforcement plans

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police and several aldermen announced various citywide holiday weekend traffic enforcement plans Saturday morning.

The police department plans to have "mission teams" that include "Click It or Ticket" notifications, citywide DUI patrols and Lake Shore Drive radar officers.

Chicago police and other city officials announced their "all-hands-on-deck" public safety strategy in preparation of Memorial Day Weekend Friday morning.

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown and representatives from the Chicago Fire Department, Chicago Park District and other agencies spoke at 11 a.m.

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Chicago police and other city officials announced their public safety plan for Memorial Day weekend Friday morning.

To supplement on-the-ground public safety resources, the police department will increase patrols beyond its regular deployments starting Friday, and people can expect to see a heavier presence of uniformed officers in and around major transit hubs and thoroughfares.

Building off the city's best practices when it comes to coordinating large-scale events and emergencies, the city is launching a first-of-its-kind Summer Operations Center within the Emergency Operations Center at OEMC. Starting Friday, and throughout every weekend this summer, the SOC will be staffed by representatives from city departments like the Park District, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Public Schools, Streets and Sanitation and more, in a comprehensive approach aimed at reaching the most vulnerable people in the most vulnerable neighborhoods, officials said. Through the new center, departments and agencies will be able to monitor citywide activity and deploy resources and services more quickly and efficiently to communities.

"With our all-hands-on-deck effort, we are maximizing CPD's police resources with one goal in mind - to save lives," Brown said. "Throughout the summer, officers will continue to be present in all areas of the city and equipped with the tools necessary to address the unique needs of the communities they serve. "

And while the department is focused on crime fighting prevention efforts, the city said officers will continue to enforce the stay-at-home order by dispersing any large gatherings and issuing citations where necessary.

"Even as we face an unprecedented public health crisis, our first responders, city workers and street outreach partners from across Chicago are coming together in an all-hands-on-deck effort to keep residents safe this weekend and throughout the summer," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. "While I encourage all residents to celebrate the holiday, it remains imperative that we do so by staying inside and social distancing so we can continue to save lives and keep our fellow neighbors safe and healthy."

The lakefront and its adjacent parks remain closed, but other Chicago parks are open.

Chicago police also launched Operation Clean in the 10th, or Ogden, District Friday.

As part of CPD's comprehensive strategy, the department's Office of Community Policing has partnered with the Department of Streets and Sanitation, the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Department of Water Management to launch Operation Clean missions every weekend.

Some of that mission was in action Friday morning in the city's North Lawndale neighborhood. Various city crews were working together to remove graffiti, clean empty lots and fix potholes and broken street lights to deliver resources directly to Chicago neighborhoods, with the goal of improving quality of life issues.

Responding to numerous complaints about reckless packs of motorcycle riders, the Chicago Police Department has revved up in an effort to rein them in over this Memorial Day Weekend.

"One of the things that continues to challenge us is the motorcycles," said Deputy Chief Daniel O'Shea.

The announcement of these strike force mission teams came as the weather warmed, but the stay-at-home order remained in effect for the holiday.

May is motorcycle safety awareness month.

"These offenders who operate their motorcycles illegally do so without regard to their own personal safety or anyone on the road with them," said Alderman Brian Hopkins, 2nd Ward.

Friday night, residents reported seeing a swarm of bikers speeding down Ida B. Wells Parkway.

Nationally there has been a 14% increase in traffic fatalities, particularly in the month of March and Illinois has had an 11% increase in traffic fatalities.

The latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.

Over 50% of all traffic deaths are the result of not wearing a seat belt, according to the national Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"There are significantly less drivers on the road, and the drivers that are there are taking this opportunities to drive at enhanced speeds," said Commander Sean Loughran with the CPD Special Functions Division.

Officials said they will use noise monitors installed along Lake Shore Drive.

"For the 3rd Ward, I would say the hot spots are Michigan Avenue, Roosevelt Road and King Drive," said Alderman Pat Dowell, 3rd Ward.

Authorities said of the 300 citations issued by police so far this weekend, 10% are motorcycle-related as they work to put an end to dangeroud behavior on the roads before it begins.

"It really does put a lot of lives at risk. Its certainly is a quality of life issue," said Alderman Brennan Reilly, 42nd Ward.

To support the city's services efforts, the mayor's Office of Violence Reduction has launched the first-ever Violence Reduction Dashboard, which is designed to enable city departments and street outreach organizations to use crime data to not only centralize strategic police missions and street outreach deployments but also inform various department operations and resources. By providing each department with real-time data in neighborhoods across Chicago, the city can further ensure cross-department collaboration when it comes to reducing violence through societal investments.
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