By Jean Lotus
If recent history is any indication, Forest Parkers who neglected to purchase vehicle stickers by the April 1 deadline may be tied up at police checkpoints sometime in the next two weeks. For the past two years, Forest Park police have set up traffic checkpoints searching for vehicles without local tags, around April 10.
"The police department will conduct periodic checks in residential areas and near schools at some point during the next month or two," said Deputy Police Chief Thomas Aftanas.
Forest Park car owners were till trickling into Village Hall in late March to buy last-minute vehicle stickers. Some have to pay outstanding tickets, some already got a citation for not having the village tag while parking overnight.
The village acquired a list in January 2013 of every registered vehicle in Forest Park from the Illinois Secretary of State's Office. In the past, police have used the list to cross-check all vehicles registered to Forest Park residents and have sent officers to write tickets overnight in April.
Last year 3,539 tickets were issued for 'No Current Village Tag,' Aftanas said. The village generated $36,965 in revenue in 2013 from tickets issued to vehicle-sticker scofflaws. The sticker price, $25, is cheaper than the ticket, which is $30, said Forest Park Police Chief James Ryan last year.
Village Executive Secretary Sally Cody said Forest Parkers had purchased around 7,300 stickers as of April 4.
"I would prefer if residents purchased the sticker," Aftanas said. "It would definitely reduce the complaints we receive from those that comply every year."
Even if your car is registered in another municipality, Forest Park police can still issue a ticket if it's parked overnight locally without a village tag.
"The local ordinance says if a vehicle is regularly housed in Forest Park, they have to buy a village vehicle sticker," said Village Administrator Tim Gillian last year, "even if a vehicle is registered somewhere else."