|SPRINGFIELD, IL -- Illinois State Police Director Terrance W. Gainer announced today the formation of four state police Summer Strike Force units that will concentrate on problem areas statewide. Gainer said the specially trained units are "on call" to districts around the state that need assistance with gang suppression, drug interdiction and intensive patrols.|
"Summertime routinely results in an increase in criminal activity and traffic problems," Gainer said. "These mobile task forces make additional state police resources available when and where they are needed most."
Gainer said the Summer Strike Force groups have already been requested and are scheduled to provide added enforcement at several upcoming special events, including the Car Craft Show in DuQuoin, the Gateway Memorial 300 in the Metro-east area, the Rantoul Balloon Fest, and rock concerts. They have already been effectively utilized in Cicero, where a shortage of police officers raised concerns by residents, and outside a state prison, where safety checks resulted in five felony arrests, some involving possession of drugs and guns.
"Our community policing officers have also made arrangements with local police chiefs to have the Summer Strike Force assist them with specific gang problems," Gainer said. "In some smaller departments, the extra manpower and expertise can be invaluable in enforcing both state laws and local ordinances."
Gainer said the Summer Strike Force will also concentrate in areas where traffic problems have been identified. Commercial vehicle enforcement, on and off the interstates, will benefit from the additional manpower, as will locations that have been identified as high fatality areas. The 22 officers who comprise the strike force can be utilized in small groups or in a unified effort when the need exists.
"The needs across the state vary, and the strike force is designed to be extremely flexible to meet those needs," Gainer said. "I’m confident our highways, special events and street corners will be safer places because of it," he concluded.