By Diana Kuyper
Special to The News-Sun
Last Modified: Mar 7, 2013 02:46AM
A new traffic unit is focusing on addressing speeding and
other traffic issues throughout Antioch, an increasing problem that Police Chief
Craig Somerville says can’t always be handled by routine police patrols.
“We have 66 miles of roadway that we patrol and about a
half-dozen problem areas that we are targeting with our traffic unit,” he said.
The unit was organized in December under the supervision of
Sgt. Geoff Guttschow. One of the first areas of the village targeted by the new
unit was on Drom Court, a short street on the north side near a factory.
“We had a resident complain about speeding and other concerns
during the shift change and we sent our new unit out there to patrol the area
regularly for about two weeks,” said Somerville. “Our presence acted as a
deterrent and subsequently the problem was reduced. We haven’t had any
“We are trying to utilize residents to help the police
department address concerns that officers may not be aware of because we can’t
be everywhere every day,” said Guttschow. He said the Drom Court issue is a good
example of how the traffic unit addresses problems brought to them by residents.
“The resident emailed us about her concerns about safety and
speed of motorists in the area. I talked to her, then initiated an intense
saturation detail for about 10 days so residents and businesses could see us
there and know we were addressing the concerns. Then we pop in and out for
awhile and also contact the resident to see if their concerns were resolved. We
keep the area on our list and periodically deploy an officer to check up on
“The traffic unit allows the police department to put patrol
officers in the areas where the community sees problems,” he added.
Somerville said a consistent presence in a problem area is
the best deterrent to speeders. He will test the unit again when it focuses on
Wood Creek Drive in the Woods of Antioch, used as a frequent cut-through from
the northwest side of the village to avoid the congested intersection at Tiffany
Road and Route 173.
“In this particular instance, when the traffic signal is
installed at Route 173 that will be a more permanent solution, but in the
meantime we recognize there is a problem on Wood Creek Drive that we believe can
be alleviated by consistent traffic patrol,” said the chief, adding that he
won’t publicize when the traffic unit will start its work or future areas that
might be scrutinized.
Somerville is urging any resident who sees a problem in their
neighborhood to contact the police department. “Please call us or send us an
e-mail, and we will send out our traffic unit to patrol in that area for 10 days
to two weeks to focus on that specific problem. We think it is the most
effective action we can take.”
Following the traffic unit’s intense patrol effort, the
police department will follow up with the individual or group that lodged the
complaint, letting them know their observations and the number of tickets issued
“Every morning our traffic unit is given a new assignment. We
dedicate one officer daily to one specific area and so far it has proved
effective,” said Somerville.
After the police department Web site is revamped, residents
will be able to lodge on-line complaints, said Somerville. “In the meantime,
residents can contact me directly and I will see that the traffic unit is
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