Joliet Police Department Begins Fourth of July Crackdown on Impaired Drivers, Seat Belt Law Violators

The Joliet Police Department announced plans for July Fourth traffic enforcement with a focus on impaired and unbuckled drivers. The safety campaign will run from June 17 through July 27 to encompass summer weekends leading up to and after Independence Day.

“We’re asking all of our residents and visitors to celebrate Independence Day safely,” said Chief Al Roechner. “It’s simple: If you’re driving, don’t drink or use drugs. Our officers will be out in full force to keep impaired drivers off the road.”

The Joliet Police Department will join the Illinois State Police and more than 160 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 under the influence,” said Chief Al Roechner.

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. Not only is it the law, it’s your best defense against an impaired driver.

•             Motorcyclists should wear a DOT certified helmet and high-visibility/reflective clothing whenever they ride.

The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and “Click It or Ticket” campaigns are made possible 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. Visit LifeOrDeathIllinois.com for more information.

Results of Officer-Involved Shooting Investigation

The Will County States Attorney’s Office released their findings in reference to the officer involved shooting of Bruce Carter, Jr. by Joliet Police Detective Aaron Bandy that occurred on February 6, 2019 at 213 Des Plaines Street.  The shooting occurred during an investigation by the Joliet Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigations of a bank robbery that occurred at approximately 9:30am that day at the federally insured First Midwest Bank, 1415 West Jefferson Street.  There was $1,173 USC taken during the robbery, of which $875 was recovered in Bruce Carter’s possession.  Based upon the review and analysis of the police reports, witness statements, forensic tests, fingerprint analysis, Illinois law concerning the use of deadly force and the force option continuum, Detective Aaron Bandy was clearly justified in the use of deadly force.

Chief Roechner stated “No officer ever wants to be in a situation where he must use deadly force to save his life and those lives around him.  I am extremely thankful that Det. Bandy when forced to act was able act professionally, lawfully, and justifiably.  As I stated from the beginning, it’s not good for anyone involved when reports are generated without the true facts.  Today the facts have been released after a thorough and exhaustive investigation by the Major Crimes Task Force and a thorough review by the Will County States Attorney’s Office.  Thank you States Attorney James Glasgow and your team for your integrity and impartial review.  I also want to thank the public for their patience while the investigation and review could be completed.”

A video posted to our Facebook page shows the surveillance video of the robbery at the First Midwest Bank.  The post can be reviewed at https://www.facebook.com/jolietpolice/.

Joliet Police to Conduct Seatbelt Safety Zones, Roadside Safety Checkpoint, and Roving Saturation Patrols During Memorial Day Holiday May 1-31, 2019

Joliet Police Chief Al Roechner 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 1st through May 31st, special enforcement efforts will include saturation patrols, seatbelt enforcement zones, and roadside safety checkpoints throughout the city.

Officers assigned to these details will be checking for alcohol violations, occupant and child restraint violations, cell phone usage violations, and other violations of the Illinois Vehicle Code.

According to Chief Al Roechner; “Our primary goal will be to increase compliance with existing traffic laws to ensure safer roadways throughout the City of Joliet for all of our citizens.”

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.

 

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 www.jolietcity.info or call 815.724.4000.

The Joliet Police Department Joins ‘Neighbors’ by Ring to Provide Users with Real-Time, Local Crime and Safety Information

The Joliet Police Department today announced that it is joining the free Neighbors app by Ring to provide the City of Joliet with real-time, local crime and safety information. The Neighbors network already has millions of users and has been instrumental in catching package thieves, stopping burglaries, and keeping neighborhoods safe.

Residents can text ‘jolietpd’ to 555888 from their smartphone to download the Neighbors app for free on iOS and Android and use the app to; join their neighborhood, share crime and safety-related videos, photos and text-based posts; and receive real-time safety alerts from their neighbors, local law enforcement and the Ring team.

“The Joliet Police Department is excited to partner with the Neighbors App by Ring,” said Chief Roechner. “This partnership will allow our officers to work closely with the community with the combined goal of making our community safer. Community engagement and the sharing of information is essential to keeping the citizens of Joliet safe. We look forward to connecting with the community through the Neighbors App to help reduce and prevent crime within the City of Joliet.”

Jamie Siminoff, Chief Inventor and Founder of Ring, said: “We’re excited to have the Joliet Police Department join Neighbors to keep their community up-to-date on local crime and safety information. Over the past few years we have learned that, when neighbors, the Ring team and law enforcement all work together, we can create safer communities. Neighbors is meant to facilitate real-time communication between these groups, while maintaining neighbor privacy first and foremost. By bringing security to every neighbor with the free Neighbors app, the City of Joliet can stay on top of crime and safety alerts as they happen.”

How It Works

  • Download the Neighbors app on iOS and Android here: download.ring.com/joliet or by texting ‘jolietpd’ to 555888 from your smartphone.
  • Opt-in to join your neighborhood.
  • Customize the geographic area you want to receive notifications for (users must verify where they are located and cannot participate in other neighborhoods).
  • Receive real-time alerts from your neighbors, local law enforcement and the Ring team that inform of crime and safety alerts as they happen.
  • View local crime and safety posts via a live feed or interactive map.
  • Share text updates, photos and videos taken on any device, including Ring’s home security devices.
  • Work with your community to make neighborhoods safer.

About the Joliet Police Department

The mission of the Joliet Police Department is to enhance the quality of life in the City of Joliet by working with the community for a safe city. We pledge to enforce the laws, preserve the peace, reduce fear, and provide a safe environment in which to live, work and recreate, and to do so within the framework of the United States Constitution. We are committed to providing the highest quality of police service to our community.

About Neighbors

Neighbors is a neighborhood watch app that provides real-time, local crime and safety information. Download the free Neighbors app (iOS/Android), join your neighborhood, and use the app to: view neighborhood activity; share crime and safety-related videos, photos and text-based posts; and receive real-time safety alerts from your neighbors, local law enforcement and the Ring team. For more information visit www.ring.com/neighbors.

About Ring

Ring’s mission is to reduce crime in neighborhoods by creating a Ring of Security around homes and communities. Ring is an Amazon company. The Ring product line, along with Neighbors by Ring, enable Ring to offer affordable, whole-home and neighborhood security devices and services. In fact, one Los Angeles neighborhood saw a 55 percent decrease in home break-ins after Ring Doorbells were installed on just ten percent of homes. For more information, visit www.ring.com. With Ring, you’re always home.

Joliet Police Department Media Contact
Sergeant Christopher Botzum
Public Affairs – Administration
815-724-3044
cbotzum@jolietcity.org

Neighbors Media Contact
Kaleigh Bueckert-Orme
Public Relations Coordinator, Ring
Media@ring.com

The Joliet Police Department is Conducting Distracting Driving Enforcement from April 1st through April 30th, 2019

In support of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the Joliet Police Department is conducting enforcement from April 1st 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 grant administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries resulting from distracted driving.

This Super Bowl Season, Remember: Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk

As Super Bowl LIII quickly approaches, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is teaming up with the Joliet Police Department to remind football fans that designated drivers are the best defense against the dangers of drunk driving. Super Bowl is a festive night in homes and bars across America, but if your night involves alcohol, plan for a sober ride home. We want to remind everyone that Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.

“The Super Bowl should be a night of fun, so we want our community folks to plan safe rides home if they plan to be out at a party,” said Chief Al Roechner. “Even one drink can impair judgement. You should never put yourself, or others, at risk because you made the choice to drink and drive. For most, even one drink can be one too many.”

Safety should be your number one priority: When it’s time to leave the party, make sure your designated driver is actually sober. If he or she decided to drink, you should call a cab, use app. based ride service, or call someone else who you know hasn’t been drinking. Remember that walking impaired can also be dangerous, so designate a sober friend to walk home with you if needed. If you are driving, remember that sober driving isn’t the only law that should be followed: Make sure you—and your driver—wear your seat belts. It’s your best defense in a crash.

If you’re planning on being the designated driver, refrain from drinking alcohol—it’s that simple. People are relying on you. While at the party, enjoy the food, the company, and non-alcoholic drinks. Encourage other designated drivers on social media using the hashtag #designateddriver. Let @NHTSAgov know you are the #DesignatedDriver so we can add your name to the Wall of Fame. Your positive influence could help keep other sober drivers on the right track. If someone you know has been drinking and tries to drive, take their keys and help them get home safely. Even if they make a fuss in the moment, they’ll thank you later.

If you’re hosting this year’s Super Bowl party, prepare plenty of snacks and non-alcoholic beverages for your guests and the designated drivers. Don’t forget to tweet your designated driver’s name to @NHTSAgov to add their name to the Wall of Fame, and use the hashtag #designateddriver. They are doing everyone a favor by keeping drunk drivers off the roads. Ask your guests to designate their sober drivers in advance, or help them coordinate with other partygoers’ designated drivers.

Encourage your drinking guests to pace themselves, to eat food, and to drink plenty of water. Another important reminder: Do not serve alcohol to minors. If an underage person drinks and drives, the person who provided the alcohol could be held liable for any damage, injury, or death caused by the underage driver. In fact, you could face jail time if you host a party where alcohol is served to people under the age of 21.

Before you head out, make a game plan that includes a sober driver—someone who will not drink at all, and who will safely bring you home.

Follow these simple tips for a safe and happy evening:

  • Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride sharing service to get home safely.
  • Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, available on Google Play for Android devices: (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nhtsa.SaferRide&hl=en), and Apple’s iTunes Store for iOS devices: (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/saferride/id950774008?mt=8). SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend, and identifies the user’s location so he or she can be picked up.
  • Use an app based ride service or taxi
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact the Joliet Police Department.
  • Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

It is illegal everywhere in America to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. Even still, thousands die each year in drunk-driving-related crashes. In 2017, there were 10,874 people killed in drunk-driving crashes. The costs can be financial, too: If you’re caught drinking and driving, you could face jail time, lose your driver’s license and your vehicle, and pay up to $10,000 in attorney’s fees, fines, car towing and repairs, higher insurance rates, and lost wages.

For more information on the dangers of drunk driving, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.

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 http://www.oxcart.com 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.”

For photos, please visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/160311435@N08/shares/Yx3f64

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.