For the first time ever, police officers made a concerted effort to find Forest Park residents who do not have a valid municipal sticker displayed on their vehicle. The department has written, on average, more than 2,500 tickets for this violation in the last two years, but the effort to force compliance appears to be ramping up.
For 90 minutes during the May 27 morning commute, officers watched traffic at the intersection of Circle and Harvard, according to an e-mail on the enforcement effort from Lt. Mike Cody. During that period, 26 drivers were cited for not having a valid sticker on their vehicle.
So far this year, police have issued 1,088 citations to village residents who do not have a valid sticker. In 2008, the department wrote 2,752 such tickets and in 2007, more than 2,300 drivers were ticketed, according to Police Chief Jim Ryan.
“Our officers that were at these check points advised me that they were getting very positive feedback from the majority of the residents who had complied with the ordinance and purchased a sticker,” Ryan said in an e-mail to the Review. “These checkpoints will continue during the summer months at various locations throughout the village.”
Residents and business owners in the village are required to purchase a sticker from the municipality for any motor vehicles registered with the state to a Forest Park address. For most, the fee is $25, but it varies for motorcycles, commercial vehicles and recreational vehicles.
Bringing more residents into compliance with the sticker requirement is also a growing priority for the village clerk’s office, through which the stickers are purchased. According to Village Clerk Vanessa Moritz, this year marked the first time her office cross referenced its list of vehicle owners with registration data from the secretary of state.
Residents who have previously bought a sticker are notified by mail when the April 1 renewal date is approaching. In 2008, using only the village’s records, Moritz’s office mailed some 8,600 renewal notices. This year, an estimated 11,300 notices were sent, she said.
“We sold about 7,000 total stickers for the year expiring March 31, 2009,” Moritz said in an e-mail. “We have sold around 8,300 stickers with the current expiration of March 31, 2010.”
On the same day that officers were checking for municipal stickers, another attempt at teaching drivers to yield to pedestrians was also made. Beginning at 11 a.m. at the intersection of Madison and Hannah streets, police used pedestrian decoys at the crosswalk to ticket those drivers who did not stop. Twenty-seven tickets for failing to yield were handed out, according to the department.
This marks the third crosswalk enforcement effort since the holiday shopping season in December. Another is scheduled for Thursday, June 11.