CITY OF NORMAL,
Emphasizing Traffic Safety with a D.U.I. Focus and Promotion of Seat Belts
The Normal Police Department is a nationally accredited, full service police department serving both the citizens of Normal and visitors. We currently employ sixty sworn police officers and nine civilian personnel. The department maintains a fleet of eighteen marked police vehicles that includes thirteen patrol vehicles, two Drug Abuse Resistant Education (D.A.R.E.) units, a crime prevention unit, a training vehicle, two K-9 units, and the Breath Alcohol Testing Mobile Unit (B.A.T. Mobile).
All Normal police officers receive basic Driving Under the Influence (D.U.I.) Detection and Apprehension instruction during their basic training. Upon graduation they receive additional education in this area with a Field Training Officer. Beyond basic training, most officers attend Standardized Field Sobriety Testing as well as Breath Alcohol Testing Certification. During the past year, twenty-two officers received training in either Standardized Field Sobriety Testing or Breath Alcohol Operator. The Normal Police Department’s goal is to have all veteran officers attend Standardized Field Sobriety Training and all new officers do so within the first eighteen months of their employment.
Each week, the department conducts twenty hours of D.U.I. Patrol. Officers are hired back from 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. These officers do not respond to calls; their only focus is detecting and apprehending intoxicated motorists. During 1997, officers working under this program arrested 116 individuals for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol. As of July 1998, officers had made 53 arrests while working under this program. Total arrests through July totaled 177.
Roadside Safety Checks
The Normal Police Department routinely conducts roadside checks with assistance from the Illinois State Police and McLean County Sheriff’s Police. The safety checks are conducted in the Town of Normal with the latest safety check totaling 115 arrests. Of those arrested, 64 were for failure to wear seat belts, while the remaining apprehensions were for D.U.I., drivers license, and equipment violations.
Community Recognition of D.U.I. Enforcement
The department works hand in hand with both the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (A.A.I.M.) and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) to recognize officers who excel in D.U.I. enforcement. At the end of each year, D.U.I. arrest statistics are forwarded to each of these organizations for their review. A.A.I.M. always recognizes the department’s D.U.I. leader with a plaque, while seven officers have received M.A.D.D.’s Hero of the Highway award in the past three years.
Silver Buckle Award
A Normal Police officer is recognized biannually for enforcing the most safety belt and child safety seat violations. During 1997, Officer Longfellow received the award for both the first and second half of 1997. During the first half of 1998, Officer Ludington issued 83 citations for failure to wear safety belts and child safety seat violations and received the Silver Buckle Award for the first half of 1998.
Business audits are held to ensure that establishments within the town that are licensed to sell alcohol are complying with all applicable laws and ordinances. Business audits are conducted by plainclothes police officers and volunteers under the age of 21. The officers accompany the underage individual into a bar and observe while the volunteer attempts to purchase alcohol. If the underage volunteer is served, the officer identifies himself and arrests the individual who made the sale. The officer making the arrest then completes a case report and forwards it to the city attorney’s office so that charges can be filed against the liquor license holder. Over the past few years, several businesses have been cited during these audits, including some who received suspensions of their license for subsequent violations.
Awareness Education with B.A.T. Mobile
The Normal Police Department operates the B.A.T. Mobile Program on a county-wide basis with the goal of educating people about drinking and driving by taking the unit to locations where alcohol is being consumed. Appearances are made at the request of local police departments, M.A.D.D. Chapters, or any other civic group or organization. Persons who have consumed alcohol are given the opportunity to take a breath test free of charge. Many of these individuals return several times over the course of an evening to chart their blood alcohol content as they drink. It is our hope that by offering these free tests, we can educate people about when they are no longer safe to be driving. These kinds of activities are enjoyed by both the police officers and the public and are a big part of the Normal Police Department’s local alcohol program.
To date the B.A.T. Mobile has visited over 35 Illinois communities and administered over 6,000 breath tests. It continues to be well received, and requests for its appearance steadily continue.
Recently, the B.A.T. Mobile was equipped with a new mobile breath testing instrument. This instrument will allow us to begin using the B.A.T. Mobile for enforcement purposes also. With this new instrument, breath tests can be administered at the scene of roadside safety checks, and the results are admissible in court.
The Normal Police Department is indeed proud of its record in the area of traffic safety and traffic enforcement. As we continue to implement community policing on a large scale, traffic enforcement will still continue to be a department priority. In setting our goals and objectives at the beginning of each year, it is important to understand the significance of an aggressive traffic safety program. The future holds many challenges for the Normal Police Department and for law enforcement in general. The Normal Police Department will continue to do its part by vigilantly enforcing traffic laws within our community, in hopes of keeping the streets safe for both our residents and our visitors.
Contact: Asst. Chief Kent D. Crutcher, Normal Police Department, 309/454-9522.
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright ©1996, U.S. Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.