Sunday, August 8, 2010

Who polices the police?

Who authorized the use of lights and sirens for the escort vehicles and the old emergency fire trucks and police cars in the procession this morning that ran up Randall Road in Lake in the Hills?

A motorist called me about 10:15AM, after he had pulled over to yield to Lake in the Hills Police cars with lights and sirens that approached his southbound car on Randall Road near Acorn Lane. Many other cars and he pulled over to yield the right-of-way.

The escort vehicles blocked the intersection of Randall Road and Acorn Lane for the procession (parade) of numerous old, probably antique, police cars (including de-commissioned Chicago Police Department squad cars from the 1970s (shades of Blues Brothers!)) and fire trucks. The parade vehicles also were using emergency lights and sirens. The parade continued north and turned onto Miller Road.

Using lights and sirens in parades might be okay along an established parade route and at walking speed. A parade route would be closed off to cars, and all drivers on side streets, etc., would quickly recognize the procession as a parade.

But what police commander would authorize use of lights and sirens in an escort of parade vehicles on an open public road? In the absence of authorized use in the Illinois Vehicle Code, using lights and sirens on public highways and roads is unlawful.

Is there a cop who would pull over escort vehicles and drivers of parade vehicles and start writing tickets? That would definitely be a career-ending move.

According to the website of the Lake in the Hills Police Department, the procession would have been a caravan of cars from the Chicagoland Emergency Vehicle Show (CVES) that came from North Aurora to the Lake in the Hills Car Show. This is clearly an unauthorized use of lights and sirens by both the escort vehicles on Randall Road and the CEVS vehicles enroute to the LITH parade starting location.

Today's rain-or-shine car show will be at Sunset Park until 3:00PM. The park is located at 5200 Miller Road in Lake in the Hills, Ill.


Whitmore2 said...

I, too, was curious as to how the trucks/cars get from the staging area to the parade route.

Sometimes the staging area is not adjacent (or part of) the actual parade route. In this area, how else would you suggest all these fire trucks, police vehicles and show cars get from the staging area to the parade?

Just following your WW/WDW idea.

My kids have always enjoyed the "Lights & Sirens" parade :-)

Gus said...

Whitmore2, thanks for your comment.

A staging area is often near the starting location for a parade.

If the parade or show vehicles are street-legal, then they can be driven to the staging area. If they are not (i.e., they are not licensed), then they need to be trucked to the staging area.

Apparently, these show vehicles today were driven from North Aurora. I'm afraid to ask if they were given a "police escort" for the entire route... If so, the drivers would have no authority to traverse an intersection against a red light or stop sign, unless a police officer was at each intersection to control traffic and permit them to cross safely.