Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over This Holiday Season

The holidays are a time for friends, family and coworkers to come together in celebration. Wherever you are — at an office party, a family member’s home or out at a bar — it is essential that you make the lifesaving choice to drive sober when the party ends. To help spread the message about the dangers of impaired driving, The Joliet Police Department is partnering with the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois State Police and nearly 200 police and sheriff’s departments across the state. The goal is simple: Get impaired drunk drivers off the roads and help save lives.
This high-visibility enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs Dec. 17 to Jan. 2. Law enforcement will show zero tolerance for drunk or drugged driving. We aim to drastically reduce impaired driving on our roads through an increased number of state and national messages about the dangers of impaired driving and more officers enforcing live-saving seat belt, speeding and distracted driving laws.
Sadly, statistics show much work still needs to be done to end impaired driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 10,874 people were killed in the United States in drunk-driving crashes in 2017. That’s one person killed every 48 minutes. In Illinois in 2017, alcohol-impaired motor vehicle crashes claimed 349 lives.
This is why The Joliet Police Department is so committed to reminding drivers that impaired driving is not only illegal, it is a matter of life or death.
Alcohol-impaired driving isn’t the only risk on the road. Drug-impaired driving is also on the rise. If drivers are impaired by any substance — whether alcohol or drugs — they should not get behind the wheel. Driving while impaired is illegal, period. If you feel different, you will drive different.
“We understand that during the holidays, people are running around, busily checking off items on their to-do list and attending parties,” said Chief Al Roechner. “We need our community members to slow down and remember: It’s up to them to make the smart decision to drive sober — during the holidays and all year long. Impaired driving is a huge problem in Illinois, and unfortunately, we’re seeing a rise in marijuana use and drugged driving as well. Stay safe and stay sober on the roads.”
Party with a Plan
If you plan to drink, plan for a sober driver to take you home. Is it your turn to be the designated driver? Take that role seriously — your friends are relying on you.
• Remember, it’s never OK to drive impaired by drugs or alcohol. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage.
• Designate a sober driver, use public transportation, use a ride service, or opt to spend the night.
• If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact The Joliet Police Department.
• Have a friend who is about to drive impaired? Take the keys away and help them get home safely. They’ll thank you later.
The Illinois Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Click It or Ticket campaigns are funded with federal highway safety dollars and administered by IDOT in partnership with The Joliet Police Department and law enforcement throughout Illinois and the nation.

Joliet Names Al Roechner New Chief of Police

Deputy Chief Alan M. Roechner has been permanently appointed as Joliet’s new chief of police after serving in the interim position for the past three months, Interim City Manager Martin Shanahan announced today.

Chief Roechner was appointed interim chief in August of this year after predecessor Brian Benton announced his retirement.

“I am pleased to appoint Mr. Al Roechner as our permanent chief of police. He has demonstrated his dedication to the City of Joliet through his 27 years of public service. In the past several months I watched him step up to lead the department in a way that has built camaraderie, respect and enthusiasm. I am confident that our police department will flourish under his leadership,” said Shanahan. “I have the utmost confidence in Mr. Roechner.

“The process to select a permanent chief of police continued almost immediately after my appointment as interim city manager. I relied upon my own observations of Mr. Roechner professionally over the past four years; during interviews and interrogations, on-the-scene incidents and interactions with the public. In addition to a personal interview, his credentials were reviewed and a number of professional references were contacted for input,” Shanahan stated.

Chief Roechner has nearly three decades of law enforcement experience, beginning in 1991 as a patrol officer for Joliet. During his tenure with the Joliet Police Department, Roechner spent time in the Neighborhood Oriented Policing Team, Special Operations Squad, Tactical, Narcotics and Investigation units. For the past 10 years Chief Roechner served in a commander position with increasing responsibility. First, overseeing operations for the 70-person Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System mobile field force, then the operations division where he is responsible for 210 sworn personnel and 41 civilian staff and most recently the Investigations division for the past four-plus years.

In addition to directing daily operating functions of the department as commander, Chief Roechner worked to create the BESST program; Belts, Education, Speeding, Stop sign and Texting; a new driver education program implemented across the city and in city high schools. Chief Roechner also helped to design and implement the 12 hour shift schedule for patrol officers, create the department recruitment committee and mediate between unions at the division level.

“I am honored to serve in this capacity and plan to engage community leaders, listen to their input and provide the best possible police service. I want to thank the men and women of the Joliet Police Department for their continued support but more importantly for their hard work and dedication to the community. I look forward to working with the Mayor, City Council and city manager on all issues related to police matters to continue our mission of ‘Working with the community for a safe city.’”

Chief Roechner is a life-long Joliet resident, an alumnus of Providence Catholic high school and a graduate of Illinois Benedictine University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration. Additionally, Roechner is a 2003 graduate of Northwestern University’s Center for Public Safety School of Police Staff and Command and a 2011 graduate of the Boston University Police Executive Research Forum Senior Management Institute.

Chief Roechner and his wife, Nancy, have three adult daughters, Catherine, Hallie and Zoe. They have one son-in-law, Vic (Catherine) and one grandson, Nico.

Chief Roechner’s appointment was made official at the December 4, 2018 City Council meeting.

Joliet Approves Extended Commercial Truck Enforcement Efforts

The City of Joliet is increasing efforts to monitor and enforce commercial motor vehicle regulations by expanding the Joliet Police Department’s (JPD) truck enforcement efforts to include evenings and weekends. Enforcement efforts will begin immediately.

“While the majority of semi-truck drivers are safe and observant operators, Joliet is taking a serious stance on those drivers who do not take time to map routes through Joliet correctly or who haul loads that are not suited for the route chosen. The safety of our residents and preservation of our infrastructure and roadways are top priorities for Joliet,” said Interim Police Chief Al Roechner.

The Joliet Police traffic unit currently has three full-time patrol officers who monitor overweight/oversize violations for trucks that travel through Joliet. All officers with this unit are certified with the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association and issue overweight/oversize citations on a daily basis. The truck enforcement patrol began in August 2017 and in only 14 months has written citations totaling over $2.2 million in bond. It is anticipated that the City will expand the Joliet Police traffic unit with more truck enforcement officers in the near future.

The Joliet Police truck enforcement patrol are able to enforce regulations throughout Joliet because the City Council  have defined and passed strict truck ordinances that come with hefty fines for violators. Operation of a vehicle over the maximum weight on specified roadways range from $500.00 for an ordinance/sign violations to upwards of $30,000.00+ for state violations. The City Council also passed a strict road blockage ordinance for trucks. “Since passage of the road blockage ordinance several years ago, we have seen an 80% drop in road blockages,” commented traffic Sgt. Phil Stice. “We count on the fact that these drivers are in communication with one another and that word has gotten out that Joliet takes road blockages, due to poor planning, very seriously. Truck drivers in Joliet are learning quickly to plan their route ahead of time or else there will be consequences.”

Drivers of commercial vehicles are encouraged to use the City’s online overweight/oversize permitting process provided by to ensure a compliant passage through Joliet. This permit system allows drivers to plot a safe route, pay fees, and download the necessary permits quickly and easily. Until 2015, the City did not have an overweight/oversize permit fee.

“Joliet fully recognizes the increase in semi-traffic over the last several years and that it is unlikely to diminish in the near future,” said Mayor Bob O’Dekirk. “Therefore we see the merit in increased patrol efforts combined with effective ordinances and permitting measures. With these safeguards in place, Joliet can maintain its status as a hub for commerce and industry without compromising its resident’s safety and quality of life.”

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On Halloween, and Every Day, Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving

Each year, thousands of young trick-or-treaters flock to the streets on Halloween night, while thousands of others head to local bars and restaurants. Please be responsible and don’t put yourself or another at risk by choosing to drink and drive. To help spread the message that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is teaming up with The Joliet Police Department to remind everyone of the dangers of drunk driving. Halloween poses a potentially dangerous threat to all pedestrians, as more people are out at night on the hunt for candy. If your night involves alcohol, plan for a sober ride home. Remember: It’s never safe to drink and get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

“If you know you’re going to go out and party on Halloween night, make sure you have a sober driver designated to get you home safely,” said Interim Chief Al Roechner. “Even one drink can impair judgement. You should never put yourself, or others, at risk because you made the selfish choice to drink and drive. For most, even one drink can be one too many. Remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.”

From October 12th through October 31st, the Joliet Police will be conducting several speeding enforcement details, alcohol saturation patrols, seat belt saturation patrols, seat belt enforcement zones, and road-side safety checks throughout the city. Officers working these details will be focusing on alcohol, seat, belt, and speeding violations in addition to other violations of the Illinois Vehicle Code.

“It is our hope that our community members are able to safely and responsibly enjoy the Halloween holiday,” said Interim Chief Al Roechner. “In today’s world, there are many options available to drivers to help them get home safely if they have been drinking. We expect drivers to refrain from driving after drinking entirely. It is the law,” he said.

Joliet Police Department Receives Highest Award From Law Enforcement Accrediting Body at Grand Rapids Hearing

On Saturday, July 28, 2018, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) held hearings in Grand Rapids, Mi. to review assessment reports of over 120 different law enforcement agencies from across the nation.

For the past several months, a team of CALEA Assessors conducted both off-site file reviews and on-site observations and interviews to assist the panel in their assessment of the police department. Their findings were compiled into a final report that was submitted to the full commission for review.

Less than seven percent of all law enforcement agencies in the United States, Canada, and Mexico are accredited through CALEA. Of the seven percent accredited, only approximately four percent of those have received the highest distinction possible, the Advanced Law Enforcement Accreditation, under a Gold Standard Assessment with the “Accreditation with Excellence” Award. Chief Brian Benton testified during the hearings where it was announced that the commission was awarding the Joliet Police Department with this prestigious honor for a second consecutive time. “I had little doubt that we would be reaccredited based on the professionalism of our department, and as reinforced by our assessors during our on-site, but receiving the “Accreditation with Excellence Award” for back-to-back assessments was truly a welcome affirmation of the high quality of our department”- Chief Brian Benton.

CALEA originally developed a program to enhance law enforcement as a profession and to improve law enforcement service delivery. Since 1979 that mission continues through a tiered law enforcement accreditation program. Agencies may volunteer to participate in either CALEA Law Enforcement Accreditation (Tier 1) or CALEA Advanced Law Enforcement Accreditation (Tier 2). These programs provide a process to systematically conduct an internal review and assessment of the agencies’ policies and procedures, and make adjustments wherever necessary to meet a body of internationally accepted benchmark standards.

• CALEA Accreditation requires an agency to develop a comprehensive, well thought out, uniform set of written directives. This is one of the most successful methods for reaching administrative and operational goals, while also providing direction to personnel.
• CALEA Accreditation standards provide the necessary reports and analyses a CEO needs to make fact-based, informed management decisions.
• CALEA Accreditation requires a preparedness program be put in place—so an agency is ready to address natural or man-made unusual occurrences.
• CALEA Accreditation is a means for developing or improving upon an agency’s relationship with the community.
• CALEA Accreditation strengthens an agency’s accountability, both within the agency and the community, through a continuum of standards that clearly define authority, performance, and responsibilities.
• Being CALEA Accredited can limit an agency’s liability and risk exposure because it demonstrates that internationally recognized standards for law enforcement have been met, as verified by a team of independent outside CALEA-trained assessors.
• CALEA Accreditation facilitates an agency’s pursuit of professional excellence.

Joliet has been accredited since 2003. While the process is ongoing and requires regular documentation of compliance with the benchmark standards, the on-site assessments take place every three years.

Ongoing Investigation – July 16, 2018

The Joliet Police department has been conducting an investigation into events surrounding a traffic stop that occurred late Friday night on Joliet’s near east side. The investigation is in the early stages and the public’s cooperation is appreciated.

“We will be reviewing the dash-cam videos, audio-recordings, police reports, and any other relevant information to determine if the officers acted in accordance with department policy and within the scope of the law” – Chief Brian Benton.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact the Joliet Police Department Internal Affairs Unit at (815) 724-3203.

Joliet Police Begins July Fourth Crackdown on Drunk Drivers and Seat Belt Law Violators

The Joliet Police Department announced its plans for July Fourth traffic enforcement with a focus on drunk and unbuckled drivers. The crackdown will run from June 25th through July 28th, an all-too-often deadly time on Illinois roads.

“We encourage local residents to celebrate Independence Day safely,” said Chief Brian Benton. “If you’re going to drink, don’t drive. Too many people die behind the wheel each year because of those who choose to drive impaired by alcohol or other drugs. Our officers will be out in full force, showing zero tolerance for impaired drivers.”

The Joliet Police Department will join the Illinois State Police and more than 150 local police and sheriff’s departments for the increased statewide enforcement effort.

“This Fourth of July, designate a sober driver and don’t let friends or family members drive drunk,” said Chief Brian Benton. Other important tips include:

  • Give your designated driver your keys before you go out.
  • If you are drunk or impaired by marijuana or other drugs, call a taxi, take mass transit, use your favorite ride-sharing service, or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely.
  • Promptly report drunk drivers to law enforcement by pulling over and dialing 911.
  • Make sure everyone in your vehicle wears their seat belt. It is your best defense against an impaired driver.

The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Click It or Ticket campaign is funded by federal traffic safety funds administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation. The crackdown runs concurrently with a media campaign reminding motorists that impaired driving has “Life or Death” consequences.

The City of Joliet is the third largest city in the state of Illinois, located just 45 miles southwest of Chicago’s Loop.  Home to over 147,000 residents, in addition to thriving businesses and attractions, the City of Joliet is easily accessible by rail, auto and bus transit. A perfect place to live, work and play, Joliet is constantly striving to promote growth and diversity.  For more information on Joliet visit or call 815.724.4000.

Joliet Police to Conduct Seatbelt Safety Zones, Roadside Safety Checkpoint, and Roving Saturation Patrols During Memorial Day Holiday from May 11 through May 29, 2018

Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton announced today that the Joliet Police Department, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Transportation, will participate in a statewide effort to increase seatbelt usage and reduce the number of impaired drivers over the Memorial Day holiday.

From May 11 through May 29, special enforcement efforts will include saturation patrols, seatbelt enforcement zones and a roadside safety checkpoint throughout the city. Officers assigned to these details will be checking for occupant and child restraint violations, cell phone usage violations, and other violations of the Illinois Vehicle Code.

According to Chief Benton, “Our primary goal will be to increase compliance with existing traffic laws to ensure safer roadways throughout the City of Joliet.”

Drivers and passengers are encouraged to always wear a seatbelt, never use an electronic communication device while driving, and not drink and drive.

These campaigns are possible through traffic safety enforcement grants from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Now Hiring for Public Safety Dispatcher I

We’re looking for someone who wants to help others.

Public Safety Dispatchers perform a critical role in the delivery of emergency police, fire and medical services in Joliet by responding to 9-1-1 calls and dispatching the appropriate police and fire response.

The starting salary is $38,766 with Benefits. Applicants will be subject to several exams and a complete background check. New hires must successfully pass a one-year training/probationary period. Applicants must have the ability to work in a multi-task Emergency Dispatch environment. Hours are rotating shift work and dependent upon the needs of the organization. Must reside within the City of Joliet within eighteen (18) months from the date of hire.

Applications are available on the City’s website: or at the Human Resources Division, 150 W. Jefferson St., Joliet, IL 60432. Application deadline is 05/28/2018 at 4:30 p.m., or until filled.


The Joliet Police Department is Conducting Distracting Driving Enforcement from April 16th through April 30th, 2018

In support of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the Joliet Police Department is conducting enforcement from April 16th through 30th. This campaign will focus on enforcement of applicable State distracted driving laws in addition to other traffic laws.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • 3,477 people were killed and an estimated 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015. That is a 9-percent increase in fatalities as compared to the previous year.
  • 10 percent of fatal crashes, 15 percent of injury crashes, and 14 percent of all police reported motor vehicle crashes in 2015 were reported as distraction affected crashes.
  • Texting while driving has become an especially problematic trend among millennials. Young drivers, 16 to 24 years old, have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers since 2007.

It’s time to drop the double standard on distracted driving – the dangers are real.  According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:

  • In analyzing 2009-2012 data, that even while more than 8 in 10 drivers believed it completely unacceptable for a motorist to text or e-mail behind the wheel, more than a third of those same respondents admitted to reading text messages while driving.
  • Just as disturbing, even as fatalities go up, fewer drivers seem concerned about texting while driving. According to Foundation’s 2015 Traffic Safety Culture Index, significantly fewer motorists (77%) believed texting while driving is a problem, down from 96 percent in 2013, a 19-point drop in just two years.
  • Texting while driving is more than just personally risky. When you text and drive, you become a danger to everyone around you.

This enforcement effort is made possible by federal traffic safety funds administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries resulting from distracted driving.

The City of Joliet is the fourth largest city in the state of Illinois, located just 45 miles southwest of Chicago’s Loop.  Home to over 152,000 residents, in addition to thriving businesses and attractions, the City of Joliet is easily accessible by rail, auto and bus transit. A perfect place to live, work and play, Joliet is constantly striving to promote growth and diversity.  For more information on Joliet visit or call 815.724.4000.