SPRINGFIELD, ILL. – Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police officers (CPOs) will step up patrol efforts on Illinois waters and in and around state parks this Labor Day weekend, September 4-7.
The Illinois Conservation Police has received more than $150,000 in state grant funding to combat motor vehicle driving under the influence (DUI) and boater operating under the influence (OUI) offenses.
CPOs will be present on lakes and rivers throughout Illinois looking for impaired operators, erratic operation and ensuring that proper safety equipment is present -- especially lifejackets. They will also be looking for impaired drivers on surrounding roadways.
In addition to OUI and DUI enforcement at state parks and boat access areas, Conservation Police officers also focus on traffic safety through enforcement of speeding and seat belt laws.
“Our officers are not out to spoil anyone’s ‘good time’ – they’re out there to help secure it,” said Illinois Conservation Police Chief Rafael Gutierrez. “If you’re acting responsibly and lawfully, you may not even notice our officers are out there.”
Last year’s Labor Day enforcement activity netted 33 arrests for operating under the influence and nine arrests for driving under the influence.
“Whether it’s on the water or on the road, our officers do a great job of keeping the public safe. I urge everyone to act responsibly this Labor Day weekend and have a great holiday,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller.
“We are working closely with State Police, and local law enforcement agencies statewide to help save lives and drive our message home – You Drink and Drive, You Lose,” said Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. “We think the message is clear and hope that everyone whether driving or boating will have a safe yet enjoyable weekend and do what is right to save lives.”
There have been 25 boating related fatalities on Illinois waters this Federal Fiscal Year (FFY), which runs October 1 through September 30. That’s 12 more than the previous FFY in Illinois.
There were 1,034 traffic fatalities in Illinois in 2008 according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics.