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Patricia Schofield, Mayor

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Department Personnel

Jeffrey S. Besing, Chief of Police

Joshua Green, Patrolman

Luke Martin, Patrol Officer (PT)
Jacob Baxter, Patrol Officer (PT)
Ed Meyers, Patrol Officer (PT)
Brad Gurley, Patrol Officer (PT)

Kathy Gonzalez, Administrative Assistant

 

 

 



Police Report, Updates, News

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New Litter Control Act law eff: 01/01/2014

Effective January 1st, 2014, a new law came into effect which pertains to the current "Littering" statute. The update to this particular law now includes "cigarettes" to the current list of items that are illegal to be discarded, abandoned or otherwise disposed of improperly.

It is now illegal to discard cigarette butts out of your car window or onto the street, sidewalk etc. by any means which by doing so constitutes "littering" and is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor for first conviction. A second conviction is a Class A misdemeanor, and a third or subsequent violation, committed after second conviction is a Class 4 felony. A person who is convicted of disposing litter (to include cigarette butts) upon a public highway may, in addition to any other penalty, may be imposed of a $50.00 fine.

Owners of businesses or person in control of the property may be convicted of a petty offense and be fined $100 if they do not provide the appropriate litter receptacles to be placed for proper disposal of cigarette butts. Additionally, a court can order the offending party to go back to the scene of the illegal littering or "butt flicking" to pick up the litter he or she left behind-which could result in thousands of frustrated smokers searching the weeds and sidewalks along roadways where their illegally-discarded cigarette butts were thrown.

So in summation, please don't discard your cigarette butts out your car window, onto the village's streets or sidewalks and help us keep the Village of Palestine a clean community.

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Additionally, I would like to remind you that the new "stricter" cell phone usage law that went into effect January 1st, 2014 as well which makes it illegal to use any communication device while operating a motor vehicle. A hands-free blue-tooth or speaker device must be used while driving. The only exception is when placing a 911 emergency call while driving. The penalty for this offense can result in jail time if it is determined that the use of a cell phone was found to be the cause of a traffic accident. [See Below]

Respectfully,

Jeffrey S. Besing
Chief of Police
Palestine Police Department


Unlawful Disposal of Garbage or Refuge
March 11, 2014

With the warmer weather just around the corner, I will be making a list of residences who are in violation of the above listed Ordinance (Chap. 12, Sect. 12.02) to wit: It is unlawful to deposit garbage, rubbish, or any offensive substances on any street, sidewalk, public place or on any private property. This includes personal trash or refuge which creates a foul, offensive, nauseous, noxious or disagreeable odors, stenches extremely repulsive to the physical senses of ordinary person(s) which is considered a health hazard.

Residents whose property falls in violation of this ordinance will receive a letter from my office giving that residence an indicated time period to clean up their property. Failure to do so will result in an ordinance citation being issued to the property owner which result in a mandatory court date and a fine up to $750.00

If you should have any questions pertaining to this ordinance, please feel free to give me a call at my office.

Respectfully,

Jeffrey S. Besing
Chief of Police
Palestine Police Department


"Drop It and Drive --- Phone in one hand, Ticket in the other!"
 
A new law banning the use of hand-held cellphones except in an emergency while driving became effective January 1st, 2014. This new law, imposes a fine starting at $75 for drivers caught using a hand-held cellphone while driving. Violators could pay $150 for repeat offenses and eventually could have their driver's license suspended.
 
"Distracted driving is a problem in Illinois and across the nation," said Governor Pat Quinn.
 
In Illinois, nearly 6,000 crashes occurred from 2008 to 2012 in which some form of driver distraction involving a cellphone was cited by police. Illinois is the 12th state to ban the use of hand-held devices while driving. Texting while driving has been illegal in Illinois since 2010. Under the new state law, there are also stricter penalties following crashes in which electronic devices were being used at the time of the collision.. A crash causing great bodily harm can send a driver to prison for up to one year and a fatal crash can result in a prison sentence of up to three years.
 
The only exceptions is using your cell phone to make an emergency 911 call or if you can press "one" number (speed dialing) to make a call to which you would be talking on a speaker (hands free device) or other blue tooth device.
 
 
Exceptions to this new law are as follows:  

  (1) a law enforcement officer or operator of an

   

emergency vehicle while performing his or her official duties;

  (2) a driver using an electronic communication device

   

for the sole purpose of reporting an emergency situation and continued communication with emergency personnel during the emergency situation;

  (3) a driver using an electronic communication device

   

in hands-free or voice-operated mode, which may include the use of a headset;

  (4) a driver of a commercial motor vehicle reading a

   

message displayed on a permanently installed communication device designed for a commercial motor vehicle with a screen that does not exceed 10 inches tall by 10 inches wide in size;

  (5) a driver using an electronic communication device

   

while parked on the shoulder of a roadway;

  (6) a driver using an electronic communication device

   

when the vehicle is stopped due to normal traffic being obstructed and the driver has the motor vehicle transmission in neutral or park;

  (7) a driver using two-way or citizens band radio services;

  (8) a driver using two-way mobile radio transmitters

   

or receivers for licensees of the Federal Communications Commission in the amateur radio service;

  (9) a driver using an electronic communication device

   

by pressing a single button to initiate or terminate a voice communication; or

(10) a driver using an electronic communication

   

device capable of performing multiple functions, other than a hand-held wireless telephone or hand-held personal digital assistant (for example, a fleet management system, dispatching device, citizens band radio, or music player) for a purpose that is not otherwise prohibited by this Section.


(Source: P.A. 97-828, eff. 7-20-12; 98-506, eff. 1-1-14.)

Remember: Play it safe! If you need to make a call and you don't have a hands free or blue tooth device, pull over to the side of the road in a safe spot to use your cell phone.

Jeffrey S. Besing
Chief of Police
Palestine Police Department


Sex Offender Registration

The Palestine Police Department will be registering all sex offenders who live within the Palestine Village limits beginning January 1st, 2014 as required by the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court Judge.

Therefore, we will be doing the sex offender registration on Thursdays between the hours of 8am and 12noon at our office located at 301 S. Main Street, Palestine, IL 62451. Registrants will need to call (618-586-2464) between the hours of 8am and 12noon, no later than (3) days in advance to make an appointment.

You will need to bring a photo ID and any court documents that were provided to you during your court order process. You will also need to bring any and all vehicle information (vehicle registration and insurance card) on vehicles that are registered to you or that you will be driving.

The applicant shall pay the mandated registration fee outlined under statute 730 ILCS 150/3. This fee shall be $100 for initial registration and $100 per annual registration. This fee shall be paid at the Palestine Police Dept. The department shall provide the applicant with a receipt showing payment. 

The yearly registration fee of $100 shall be paid to the Palestine Police Department to  be paid in cash, cashier's check or money order. No personal checks will be accepted. This fee is to be collected at the time of initial registration and at the time of each annual registration.

If the registrant is unable to pay this fee due to being deemed "indigent", the registrant must sign a statement under penalty of perjury affirming his/her indigent status and if unable to pay the fee in a lump sum or installments, the person shall perform 100 hours of community service within 90 days of registration, if community service is available.

Failure to comply with the registration fee requirements by a person who is required as a sex offender is a Class 3 Felony.

Chief Jeffrey S. Besing
Admin. Asst., Kathy Gonzalez
Palestine Police Dept.


Holiday Season Safety Tips

Be careful when shopping during the Christmas season. Use the “safety in numbers” technique when shopping in large department complexes or malls. You are less likely to be a victim of a mugging or purse snatching if you shop with a group of people instead of by yourself.

Use the child safety strap in shopping carts to secure your purse in the seat of the cart by running the safety strap thru the purse straps. Never walk away from your shopping cart while your purse or small child is in the cart.

Use caution when using your credit or debit cards to make purchases. Technology has created wireless devices used by criminals that allows them to scan your credit card numbers while standing in close proximity of you. There are new protective cases available which are lined with a material that protects your credit card numbers while in your purse.

Always secure your packages in the trunk of your car or cover them up with blankets in the back seat. The “hot electronic” items are normally stolen out of vehicles during this time of the year so make sure your doors are locked while you are shopping in the stores.

Have a safe and wonderful holiday season.

Jeffrey S. Besing
Chief of Police
Palestine Police Department


Halloween Safety Tips

As you know, trick or treating will be coming up this Thursday night from 6-8pm in Palestine. Those of you who would like to pass candy out from your homes are asked to leave your porch light on so the kids will know that they are welcomed.

I would like to offer the following safety tips to ensure a safe and fun Halloween night for the kids (and adults). Make sure to wear light colored costumes or costumes with reflective material or contrasting colors. If you wear a mask or hood type costume, make sure your vision is not obstructed. Carry a flashlight to light your way along the sidewalks. Only cross the streets at an intersection and with the help of an older sibling or parent. If you go to a house with dogs, be careful when you walk up to the house. Only take candy that is in a sealed wrapper, do not take any fruits or cookies that are not sealed.

For those of you who want to celebrate by the old fashion toilet papering, soaping or other what appears to be innocent pranks, keep in mind that as innocent as it may be, property owners have the option to press criminal charges if any damage is done to their property. If we as police officers catch you in the act, we will confiscate the items used and then check with the property owners to see if any damage is done.

If you are going to a party (adults) where alcohol is served, please make sure to have a designated driver.

Happy Halloween everyone and have fun and be safe.

Jeffrey S. Besing
Chief of Police
Palestine Police Department


School Season Safety Reminder
 
The first day of school in the Village of Palestine will be Tuesday, August 20th, 2013. I would like to remind motorist traveling in the Village limits of Palestine of the following safety tips to ensure a safe start to the new school year.
 
1.)  School zone speed limits are 20mph and will be strictly enforced . Primarily, those school zones are in effect between the hours of 7:00am and 4:00pm and anytime school children are present. The areas designated as school zones in the Village of Palestine are as follows: (Palestine High School)--Franklin Street/Route #33 as you approach the high school, on Main Street and on Lincoln Street, (Palestine Elementary School: it is posted at Washington and W. Franklin, Washington and W. Market, Washington just north of Lamotte, Washington and Lamotte intersection, W. Lamotte Street just west of the school playground area for eastbound traffic and W. Lamotte & Rush Street for westbound traffic.
 
2.)  Palestine Police Officers will also be looking for motorist who are not wearing their seat belts and who do not have their children properly secured in a child safety restraint system. Illinois law requires that all children to be properly restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat until age eight. After age eight (8), Illinois law requires everyone under the age of 19 to be properly restrained anywhere in the vehicle. **The National Highway Traffic Safety Association strongly recommends that children stay rear-facing until they are BOTH over one year of age AND over 20 pounds to protect their fragile head, neck and spinal cord. *If a child is at least 80 pounds and 4 feet 9 inches tall, then that child can be secured without the use of a booster seat. Booster seats are designed to lift the child (under the 80lbs/4'9" criteria) up so the lap and shoulder seat belt would be more effective.

State of Illinois Child Passenger Safety Infomation

3.)  Motorist are not allowed to be talking or texting on their mobile phones while driving in a school zone or construction zone.
 
4.)  Another issue that I would like to discuss is the use of golf carts or neighborhood vehicles within the village limits of Palestine.
The streets that are permissable to operate these vehicles on include every street EXCEPT:

There are only (2) locations where you can cross SR #33, those being at Wilson and Franklin Street & Grand Prairie and Jackson Streets.
 
Please be alert while driving especially in the school zones. Traffic fines for speeding while in a school zone are increasingly higher than a normal speed zone and require a mandatory court date. Help us make this a safe and accident free school year.
 
Jeffrey S. Besing
Chief of Police
Palestine Police Department


Reminder of Village Dog Ordinance
 
Previously I had sent out information concerning the Village Ordinance #13:01--Dogs At Large; Barking Dogs which explained the ordinance in full and the penalties resulting in violating this ordinance. For the most part, the dog problem has subsided somewhat but we are still having problems with some residents allowing their dogs to run loose without being on a leash or just simply, allowing their dogs to run freely.
 
The risk involved in allowing your dog to run freely without being on a leash or zip line is that if your dog bites an individual, the pet owner will be responsible for all medical bills incurred to the victim, their dog will be impounded and the dog owner will receive a citation which could cost them upwards of  $100.00
 
Without reciting the complete dog ordinance again, simply put: "All dogs shall be on a leash, zip line or other secured means while outside of the home or fenced in area." Even if you are only allowing your pet to go outside to "relieve" themselves, they must be on a leash or zip line while doing so.
 
Additionally, it is unlawful for any person or persons to keep more than (3) dogs and/or (3) cats within the Village limits, with the exception of a litter of pups or kittens which may be kept for a period of 6 months from birth.
 
With the upcoming Labor Day holiday and the increase of pedestrian traffic during the Labor Day activities, please make sure that your pets are contained as stated in the aforementioned guidelines.
 
Thank you,
Chief Jeffrey S. Besing


911 Addressing

To: Village of Palestine Residents
From: Chief of Jeffrey S. Besing
Date: July 19, 2013

In the past week I have been helping my son deliver the newspapers for Peg & Red and in doing so, I have noticed several residences that do not have their numerical addresses affixed to their homes.

When you call for help from any of the emergency service agencies, it speeds our response time to you when we are able to physically see your “house number” on your home so we know we have the correct address that we are responding too. Often there are times that we travel down the neighborhoods looking for an address and we have to “guess” what house you live in because your house number is not visible to us from our emergency vehicles. Keep in mind that not all addresses are in chronological order (300-302-304-306 etc). We can definitely find the street easily enough, but finding the specific house that we need to respond too becomes difficult without the house number visible to us.

According to 911 addressing standards, “each residence should be marked with their physical numerical address using 3”-6” high numbers with reflective characters and a contrasting reflective background. For example: 3-6” white numbers on a dark background or just the opposite. These numbers can be attached to the front of the house or to sign type pole in your yard so long as they are visible from the street coming from either direction.

If you do not have your address displayed, please do so as it may make the difference between life and death in us trying to find you once you call for help.

Another reminder that I would like to note, please “do not” call 586-2464 if you need to speak to an officer or to report an incident. That phone number is not answered 24 hours a day. It is just an “administrative” number used at the Village Hall during the hours of 8am – 12noon weekdays.

The non-emergency number that you need to call to request an officer or report an incident is: 546-1515 which is the Crawford County Dispatch Center at which time they will take your information and then dispatch a Palestine Police Officer or Crawford County Deputy to the location where you need assistance. Naturally if it is an emergency situation, you would simply dial “911”.

The Palestine Police Department has contracted with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office for them to provide our dispatching services. We do not have a dispatcher at the Palestine Police Department.


Special Notice - High Priority

To: Residents of the Village of Palestine

From: Chief Jeffrey S. Besing

Date: July 18, 2013

Yesterday (July 17th, 2013) we had a potentially dangerous situation in the 300 block of W. Grand Prairie which involved multiple law enforcement agencies in which we were seeking to apprehend a fugitive who was considered a violent individual.

During this incident, there were numerous citizens attempting to drive past the area where we were staged at, just to (for lack of better words) gawk and be nosey. From what I understand, most of these citizens are frequent listeners to “scanner traffic” or readers of “facebook” information.

I would like to comment that by participating in this type of activity (gawking etc.), you are only complicating the task at hand that we are trying to deal with. By doing so, you create a risk to not only your own safety but to the officers on scene.

In the future, if any emergency services agency is dealing with an incident whether it may be law enforcement, fire or EMS related, please stay at home or away from the area that we are working in for your safety and ours.

If I feel it is necessary to do so, I will provide a “press release” to the local media outlets regarding the incident for the public’s awareness.

If the problem of on-lookers and unnecessary pedestrian/motor vehicle traffic continues at these types of scenes, then those people could be subject to criminal prosecution.

Jeffrey S. Besing
Chief of Police
Palestine Police Department


Fireworks during the July 4th, 2013 week of celebration

With the upcoming 4th of July holiday, we would like to remind the residents of Palestine of the Village Ordinance Code pertaining to the use of fireworks.
...
Pursuant to Village Ordinance 42.04, to wit: No person shall sell, offer for sale, use or explode any fireworks in the Village, except the Board of Trustees may grant a permit for public display of fireworks under such conditions as it may impose under the provisions of Chapter 524, Section 35/2 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes.

In respect to the Village Ordinance, we would like for everyone to have a safe and enjoyable July 4th holiday. In order for that to be accomplished, we would like to ask that individuals who would like to utilize fireworks for personal entertainment to limit their fireworks to those that do not pose a great health and safety risk. We would also like to ask that when using fireworks, that an adult be present while fireworks are being ignited, etc.

Out of respect for your neighbors, please plan your evening so that all fireworks being used will be completed by 10:00 pm to alleviate disturbing your neighbors who may be trying to sleep.

Each year, hundreds of people across the United States are severely burned or even killed due to improper handling and discharging of fireworks that are ignited and uncontrollable after they fly into the air.

Please make every effort to minimize any chances of injuries or fires by being responsible and avoid consuming alcoholic beverages while utilizing fireworks for personal entertainment. To play it safe, plan your evening by visiting other communities who are sponsoring professional and controlled firework displays.

Thank you, and have a safe and Happy 4th of July!

Mayor Pat Schofield
Chief of Police Jeff Besing
LaMotte Twp Fire Chief Harry G. Purcell
Village of Palestine Board of Trustees


Ordinance Violations

Beginning June 18th, 2013 I will be compiling a list of addresses of residences within the Village of Palestine whose properties need mowing that are in violation of the Village Ordinance pertaining to tall grass and weeds.

According to Village Ordinance # 12.06 (Weeds and Grasses), sect. (b): Every owner/occupant of real estate within the village shall cut weeds and grasses on his property at all such times as may be necessary so that such weeds/grasses shall not exceed 8 inches in height. No grass clippings or weeds shall be mown in such a way as to deposit clippings onto the street.

The fine for this violation is $100.00 for the first offense and up to $750.00 for subsequent violations.

Additionally I will be checking properties for abandoned and inoperable vehicles pursuant to Village Ordinance 12:08 to wit: Any vehicle in a state of disrepair, rendering the vehicle incapable of being driven in its condition; or is not properly registered and bearing current vehicle license plates affixed in a manner prescribed by the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code, and is apparently deserted.

The fine for this violation is no less than $98.00 nor more than $750.00 plus cost of prosecution. Each day that such violation occurs shall constitute a separate offense. In addition, any person who violates this Ordinance shall be required by the Court to pay for the costs of impounding and disposition of the abandoned or unclaimed vehicle.

In both cases, owners/occupants of properties will receive a letter indicating the ordinance violation along with a set time allowed to correct the problem before being issued an ordinance violation ticket.

Jeffrey S. Besing, Chief of Police
Palestine Police Department


IN RESPONSE TO INQUIRIES ABOUT USE OF BB GUNS IN THE VILLAGE

CHAPTER 42 (Partial) - OFFENSES AGAINST PUBLIC PEACE,
SAFETY, AND MORALS

PALESTINE VILLAGE CODE
Published by Authority of the Board of Trustees
of the Village of Palestine

42.01: 1 through 21; 42.05 through 42.14 contained in the Palestine Village Code Book

42.02 FIREARMS. No person shall discharge any firearms or do any hunting in the Village. This shall not apply to peace officers in line of duty, or any person acting in self defense.

42.03 WEAPONS
(a) A person who is not a Village Officer shall not carry about his person any concealed pistol, switchblade, razor, slingshot, metal knuckles, or any other weapon or thing of deadly character.
(b) No person shall sell, give, or transfer any such weapon described to any minor person.
(c) No person shall carry or discharge a BB gun or pellet gun.

42.04 FIREWORKS. No person shall sell, offer for sale, use or explode any fireworks in the Village except the Board of Trustees may grant a permit for public display of fireworks under such conditions as it may impose under the provisions of Chapter 425, Section 35/2 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes.


ALERT - RESIDENTS OF PALESTINE

Once again, we are reminding the community to lock their vehicles, houses, garages and sheds. We have had an incident (Saturday night, May 11, 2013) where some young males dressed in dark clothing entered a garage but were spooked by the owner. We do have a lead on them we will be working on that aspect. But right now, you need to protect everything that you own. Help us to help you and your neighbors. BE ALERT!! Keep an eye out, and if you need help, immediately call Crawford County Dispatch at 546-1515.

Jeffrey S. Besing
Chief of Police
Village of Palestine


 

School Zone Sign 20 MPHSpeed Restrictions in School Zone Areas

In the Village of Palestine, there are two schools located in the Village limits which have school zone speed restricted areas.

In quoting the Illinois Vehicle Code, "no person shall drive a motor vehicle at a speed in excess of 20 miles per hour while passing a school zone or while traveling on a roadway on public school property or upon any public thoroughfare where children pass going to and from school". For the purpose of this section a school day shall begin at 7:00am and shall conclude at 4:00pm.

This section shall not be applicable unless appropriate signs are posted upon streets and highways under their respective jurisdiction and maintained by the Department, township, county, park district, city, village or incorporated town wherein the school zone is located. With regard to the special speed limit while passing schools, such signs shall give proper due warning that a school zone is being approached and shall indicate the school zone and the maximum speed limit in effect during school days when school children are present.

Based on the above stated information, the designated school zones in the Village of Palestine are as follows: (Palestine High School)--Franklin Street/Route #33 passing the high school (it is posted both East & West on Franklin/Route #33 as you approach the high school), on Main Street and on Lincoln Street.

Palestine Elementary School: it is posted at Washington and W. Franklin, Washington and W. Market, Washington just north of Lamotte, Washington & Lamotte intersection, W. Lamotte Street just west of the school playground area for eastbound traffic and W. Lamotte and Rush Street for westbound traffic.

The Palestine Police Department actively monitors and enforces the 20mph school zone speed limit within the designated school zones. For the most part, the speed limits on the village streets is posted at 25mph. So traffic enforcement is done by the Palestine Police Department in these areas as well.

We would like to remind motorist that fines are elevated for speeding in a school zone and it also requires a mandatory court appearance when cited. The use of cell phones by either communicating or texting is strictly prohibited in school zone areas as well.

Please keep in mind that more school kids may be walking or riding their bicycles to and from school now that the warmer weather is upon us and even though the current school year is coming to an end, the information listed above should be noted by all motorist in their daily travels.


Jeffrey S. Besing
Chief of Police
Palestine Police Department


The Village of Palestine has been receiving several complaints of dogs running loose within the village limits. Allowing your dog to run loose without being confined by either a leash, chain or some means of control is in violation of Palestine Village Code # 13.01 which also covers “barking dogs”.

#13.01: DOGS AT LARGE; BARKING DOGS: << read the complete ordinance
In essence, this ordinance states that no dog shall be permitted to run at large upon the lands of another, streets, alleys or public grounds within the Village of Palestine unless they are on leash or have the consent of the owner of such land. Nor are any dogs permitted to disturb the peace and quiet of the neighborhood by barking or making other loud or unusual noises.
It is also stated in this ordinance, that it is unlawful for any person or persons to keep more than (3) dogs and/or (3) cats within the Village, with the exception of a litter of pups or kittens which may be kept for a period of 6 months from birth.
Violation of this ordinance will result in the offender/pet owner to be issued a Village Ordinance citation which may result in a fine of approx. $100.00.
Any citizen or resident of the Village of Palestine who wishes to file a complaint of dogs running at large or barking dogs should adhere to the following procedure.
1.) Call the Palestine Police Department by calling the Crawford County Dispatch at 546-1515 at which time they will dispatch the Palestine Police Department to take your report.
2.) The complainant will then be required to sign a complaint against the owner of the dog if the officer responding does not witness the violation himself.
3.) The owner of the dog/pet will then be issued a Village Ordinance citation and will be required to appear in court.

I f you should have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 618-586-2464 or thru Crawford County Dispatch at 546-1515.
Jeffrey S. Besing
Chief of Police
Palestine Police Department

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