by Dave Noble, City News Editor
ELMHURST – Gushing over the latest statistics that show a sharp decrease in local crime over the last few months, Elmhurst Police Chief Michael Ruth told reporters Tuesday afternoon that the department’s “Summer Mobile Patrol Unit” – comprised of officers who ride on one of ten performance hybrid bicycles or drive a tricked-out electric golf cart purchased from River Forest Country Club two years ago – is responsible for bringing order and safety back to the city.
According to Ruth, the mobile patrol unit has been instrumental this summer in reducing the number of local bank robberies, shootings and carjackings while serving as a crime deterrent at historically-violent Elmhurst events like “Block to Block” and “Music at the Gazebo”.
“The officers who work the mobile unit are out on the streets and bike paths every day, preventing crime and ensuring the safety of our citizens,” said Ruth, noting that the unit’s capabilities go beyond crowd control. “They’re chasing leads, shaking down suspects, and rendezvousing with informants just like the rest of our officers.”
Despite its overall success, the Summer Mobile Patrol Unit has seen its share of unique challenges in crime prevention. The department was forced to cancel its “Mobile Unit Ride-Along” program in early June after several participants fell from the handlebars of police bicycles during routine neighborhood patrols, and public records reveal that the department has accrued more than $400 in Uber charges this summer transporting suspects back to the police station.
Chief Ruth believes that the unit will overcome its deficiencies and continue to succeed in preventing crime.
“We look forward to growing the unit even more,” said Ruth, who revealed that the department is finalizing a deal with an undisclosed traveling carnival for a pair of Percheron horses and eight unicycles to boost the Summer Mobile Patrol Unit in 2019. “Giving our officers a height advantage over crowds will allow them to observe a wider area.”
by Dave Noble, City News Editor
ELMHURST – With the intention of explaining the local etiquettes, social norms and expected behavior of living in the tight-knit community, the Elmhurst City Council last week unanimously approved a 36-page “Code of Conduct” handbook that will be distributed to all new residents, starting this fall.
“Appropriate Attire for Shopping at the Elmhurst Farmer’s Market”, “When and Where You Should Lock Your Car Doors”, and “Gaining Your Neighborhood’s Approval Before Making Exterior Changes to Your Home” are among the topics in the handbook, which begins with a brief history of Elmhurst and details the common struggles of newcomers to fit in. All incoming residents will be required to read the handbook and pass a written test on the material before moving to town.
“We want people to start off on the right foot when they move here,” said Elmhurst Communications Manager Kassondra Schref, who developed the lengthy handbook after a recent study of current and future construction in downtown Elmhurst revealed that the city’s population will increase by 50% over the next ten years. “The Code of Conduct handbook will help families cope with living here and assist them in gaining acceptance from members of the community.”
Schref noted that the handbook will also provide new residents with the proper protocol for addressing any problems they have with living in Elmhurst.
“Before calling the city with a complaint, we prefer residents to raise the issue in local social media outlets, where their peers will evaluate its validity,” said Schref, who added that the handbook includes a section on “Elmhurst hacks” contributed by lifelong residents. “This is where new residents can find information on the police department’s typical DUI checkpoint locations, which neighborhoods have the best trash to pick through during ‘Spring Clean Up Week’, and other tips.”
The Elmhurst City Council also approved construction of a “tent city” in Eldridge Park that will serve as temporary housing for the children of new residents who fail the Code of Conduct test.