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CPOs to crack down at ramps, in parks

August 29, 2008 at 03:35 PM

SPRINGFIELD, ILL. – Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police Officers will be out in force during the Labor Day holiday weekend in a concentrated effort to reduce impaired driving in Illinois state parks.

The Illinois Conservation Police has received more than $300,000 in state grant funding to combat motor vehicle driving under the influence (DUI) and boater operating under the influence (OUI) offenses. 

“Conservation Police will be increasing law enforcement efforts in targeted areas to apprehend alcohol-impaired drivers at boat ramps and on Department-owned or managed lands,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood.  “We want those individuals and families enjoying time at our parks and on the water to be safe for the Labor Day holiday weekend and at all times.”

The grant funding for the enhanced Labor Day weekend enforcement effort is being provided by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Division of Traffic Safety.  Similar programs, and the combined efforts of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the media, volunteers, and organizations such as MADD, have demonstrated that prevention works in saving lives and reducing both injury and property damage.

According to NHTSA, the sobering facts are that 17,602 alcohol-related traffic deaths were reported in America in 2006.  In Illinois, NHTSA estimates show 594 alcohol-related traffic fatalities occurred last year.

“We are happy to partner with law enforcement agencies statewide to help save lives and drive our message home…You Drink & Drive, You Lose,” said IDOT Secretary Milton Sees.  “On land or water, if you operate any vehicle impaired, law enforcement will find and arrest you.”

Alcohol and drugs are also factors contributing to boating and snowmobile fatalities in Illinois.  Last year, two of the 13 reported boating fatalities and two of the eight reported snowmobile fatalities involved the use of alcohol or drugs.

“Our goal with this grant-assisted enforcement effort is simple:  to make our parks and waterways safer,” said IDNR Conservation Police Director Rafael Gutierrez.  “Our state sites, many of which are associated with bodies of water, serve as hubs for recreational activity in their areas.  Some visitors to our sites consider alcohol to be a regular part of their recreational activities. As a result, our officers find violations such as driving under the influence, illegal transportation of alcohol, and underage consumption of alcohol.”

Most recreational boats in Illinois are towed to a nearby launch ramp for their daily use.

“By apprehending intoxicated persons at boat ramp areas, whether in an automobile or on a boat, we can prevent them from becoming involved in an accident,” Gutierrez said. “By increasing our traffic enforcement at our IDNR sites, we can improve the overall safety of our visitors.”

Even though mere consumption of alcohol while operating a boat is not illegal, Conservation Police caution against its use. 

“Anyone operating a boat while under the influence can make deadly decisions,” Gutierrez added.  “It isn’t bad weather or poor conditions that cause the majority of accidents.  It is operator inattention and carelessness that lead to collisions.  Responsible operating practices such as avoiding alcohol and wearing a personal floatation device can make your boating experience safe and enjoyable.”

Conservation Police Officers will also focus on traffic safety through the enforcement of speeding and occupant restraint laws during the special enforcement details at state parks and boat ramps at state sites.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

That’s a great idea, but I have 2 questions:

1. Are there going to be any state parks open this weekend, or are they all going to be shut down?

2. Can the state afford to pay the CPO’s?

Posted by Marc Anthony on 08/29 at 04:09 PM

Doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense does it? Then again ,anything our state seems to do is so bizzare!
I also have a question? If the parks are all closed and the deer hunting there stops, why is the state even thinking about changing the way we harvest does? Won’t the parks become an overpopulated deer haven and we really have not gained any ground ?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/29 at 06:36 PM

Absolutely Tony! I had that very thought yesterday. Most of the state parks that didn’t allow hunting became overpopulated with deer. It took years for the DNR to open them up to deer hunting and when they did, you couldn’t shoot enough of them. So, are they going backwards here? Jubilee state park outside of Peoria is one example.

Posted by Marc Anthony on 08/29 at 07:43 PM

Does being a fellow archer make us have such a candid opinion about this? Or is the state trying to make us feel like we are all crazy? I guess it sure seems to me that the only choice we have is to b@&ch;about it among ourselves! I wish we could start some type of coalition to fight for rights!It also seems that the only people really concerned about the deer “doe” decisions to be made by the state is archers. Or am I wrong? I have talked to quite a few shotgunners and 95%of them are not even aware of what the state may or may not do!! To me the state needs to inform ALL people better,..somehow? What’s your view?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/29 at 08:52 PM

Well Tony, I certainly don’t have a crystal ball but I do know the “squeaky wheel gets the grease”. How to go about getting the DNR to listen it is the real question. I do know that these topics create quite a fuss on these boards with many people calling others names and such, but really what needs to be done is to hold a rally in Springfield (or somewhere televised) to get Springfield’s attention. It really wouldn’t be that hard. Set a date, time and place to rally and just do it. Get the media involved and let everyone know how passionate we all are about our sport. This is a subject we can get support from people who don’t even hunt, but just like to use the park system. I think you would be surprised by the output. One important factor would be for everyone to be calm as the general public could see us in a organized but civil way. If we want their support, we have to not appear like a “shoot-em-up” group of cowboys (although we really are) grin

Now as far as the doe issue, once we get their attention, they will be forced to listed to OUR opinion on population control or any other issue we deem necessary. I think the shotgun hunters, bow hunters and everyone would happily join in if we were heard in Springfield. This might seem a bit extravagant, but we need something out of the ordinary to be heard. We are going to lose our deer hunting if we don’t act soon, in my opinion.

Posted by Marc Anthony on 08/29 at 10:38 PM

Call me dumb, stupid, or whatever, In my opinion I feel we won’t lose deer hunting. It will just be so screwed up we will want to hunt in another state.What means the most to me is HOME. I have bowhunted in a few states and I still love Illinois better than anywhere I have been.What is so scary is we have not even come close to reaching our potencial in quality of our deer herd. Since they took the check stations away , there is too much lying going on. I never understood why they changed that anyway, weren’t most or all of the shotgun check stations college students? Were they paid?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/30 at 05:21 AM

In reality, I agree we won’t lose deer hunting because it brings in too much money for the state. I quess I should have said above that we will lose the quality of our hunting. I also like hunting IL. better as I have hunted out of state. It’s a shame we’re moving backward here on deer control. I think they shut the check stations down because of the costs. Someone gets paid whether it is the people who own the check site, the college students, or maybe the people who keep the records.

Posted by Marc Anthony on 08/30 at 06:45 AM

what are you talking about when you say what the state might or might not do regarding deer hunting.i try to stay fairly informed on laws bylaws and the lot but i don’t know what you’re talking about.thanks

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/31 at 08:12 PM

Bob, we’re talking about the closing of 11 state parks. We are not sure if they will allow hunters, who have permits to hunt those parks, hunt them at all since they are closing them down. It’s a real mess and no one can get a straight answer. FYI, they just announced the closing of these parks last week.

Posted by Marc Anthony on 08/31 at 09:20 PM

closing 11 state parks… big deal. Would you rather the state keep the parks open and then raise our taxes to pay for it? when thegovernment pisses as much money away as we give them, it is inevitable that there will be an occasional closing of facilities.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/01 at 01:04 PM

b,I think it is a big deal!You obviously don’t use any parks at any time ,nor do you seem to care that these parks are there for OUR enjoyment!You must have all kinds of land and don’t care. Well, I for one am a land owner with a substancial amount of land , but i care about the people who don’t and have know where else to go. To me that is more of a waste of money letting land just sit there and look like a jungle, not used legally by anybody . My children with miss these parks as well as me !!Hope you see this side of it and understand.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/01 at 04:53 PM

b, I too think it is a big deal, alot of people use these state parks to escape from the every day hustle and bustle of life.  We are also landowners and we also use these parks, its a great place for our kids to run free and explore.  Obviously you don’t have kids and could care less about the future of our state parks.  Well I do and if it takes raising my taxes a slight amount then who cares. It is not just the closer of the state parks that bothers me it is also the individuals that have worked there for so many years and are now forced to move or bump another IDNR worker out of his job.  Look at the parks, alot of areas are places where Blagojevich is catching hell from Illinois law makers.  Why do you think he wants Pontiac prison closed????  My guess would me because that happens to be the district of the man who got the recall bill started.  I see this as another way for our governor to show his power.
Give em a bib and a high chair because thats what type of person we are dealing with.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/01 at 06:33 PM

When are enough tax dollars enough? the government has proved time and time again they don’t know how to spend your money better than you do.  Parks may be a great place to run free, but chances are you know someone who has some land or have a place to get out and roam.  You cant depend on the government for everything, and I think parks are an area that we can all fend for ourselves.  Also, I personally don’t feel all that bad for an IDNR worker who lost his job or someone who has worked for the state for a number of years getting forced to move. ANY state job is a CAKE job, including IDNR.  I’m a fiscal conservative and see a government that is pissing our money away, and it would be a mistake to let them have any more of our money that we earned so they can open a state park. Also, I do have 2 kids, and I am not a landowner… I just don’t depend on the government nor do I bitch when they don’t follow through with a promise. When has govt ever came through on a promise?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/01 at 06:44 PM

I will disagree with you on state jobs being a cake job, a family member who is a biologist for the DNR works his butt off day in and day out and I am sure there are plenty others that do.  I am not real big on the government either but you know theres that old saying that 2 things are for sure in this life and thats death and taxes, not gonna get out of either. So the government is going to spend my money whether I like it or not.  I would rather it be spent on enjoyable things like parks instead of plane rides and heated driveways.  As far as I am concerned all money collected by state parks, sportsmen, etc, etc should go right back to the DNR instead of the Governor’s pet projects plans. I do own my own land but it is still nice to go and visit our state parks. What about people that don’t have any other place to hunt beside state parks?  Are they just going to let these places get overrun with deer and then end up spending money to thin the deer herd out years down the road. You are right, its a no win situation when our government is run by a bunch of ego maniacs that don’t have a clue or care about anything except for their image or how much power they can get.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/01 at 09:47 PM

Government is a necessary evil.  B is exposing the views of a true conservative—less taxes and less government is always better.  I agree with the sentiment, but only to a point.  Sure I’d like to pay less taxes; means more money for me.  I also want roads, fire protection, a police force . . . and I want accessible public land to enjoy.  As for, “I think parks are an area that we can all fend for ourselves,” I cannot imagine how.  Privatization of outdoor opportunities is what drives the outfitter industry.  Any land not held by the government will eventually end up leased to outfitters because there is too much money at stake for landowners to ignore.  While an increased supply will bring the cost of private hunts down a bit, I doubt it will to a degree that people other than true, established, hard core outdoorsmen will hunt.  That in turn, will diminish the hunting population until we are so small that government can completely ignore us.  Public land allows people to try hunting in an affordable manner.  It also allows people who take a more casual attitude toward hunting to participate in the sport (i.e., I have one friend who hunts pheasants about 3 time per year; I doubt he would pay a quarter of the rate the cheapest outfitter would charge to hunt).
But because B’s position (less taxes; less govenment) makes sense sometimes, it does not make sense all of the time.  Letting ideology supplant analysis is not a good idea.  There are things a government should do.  No conservative I have ever heard has ever claimed we should be rid of all government.  For example, mercenaries have historically not been good soldiers; those fighting for a cause (patriots) do better.  A governement should run the military.  It should also manage the territory within its boundries for the public good.  This seems to me to be one of its most basic and proper tasks.  Sometimes this costs money.  I have no problem with spending on parks.  I also agree with Illbowhunter and do not care if it takes a slight tax increase.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/02 at 02:37 PM

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