Glencoe Police Chief: No Profiling in Bike Ticket Case
Chief Michael Volling says all officers are instructed to enforce the bicyclist restriction in the Sheridan Road construction area; he says he has reached out several times to Reverend Michael James of Evanston but was unsuccessful in making contact.
Glencoe Police Chief Michael Volling says his lieutenant was enforcing village biking restrictions while addressing safety concerns when an Evanston man was cited for riding through the Sheridan Road construction area July 30.
Meanwhile, the bicyclist, Reverend Michael James, claims he was racially profiled and reportedly plans to make the $25 citation a federal case, according to Glencoe News.
"There is no bicycle traffic permitted northbound or southbound; vehicle traffic is the only traffic permitted northbound on Sheridan Road during the construction project," said Michael Volling, Glencoe police chief.
Volling said due to a couple of "near misses" in the area, the village made a decision that for the safety of bicyclists, they would not be permitted to ride the area until the water main construction project is completed at the beginning of August.
"There are signs that clearly state north and southbound bicycle traffic is not permitted," Volling said.
Bicyclists are instead diverted to either the Green Bay Trail or to Green Bay Road, Volling said.
As far as the allegation of racial profiling, Volling says Lieutenant Betsy Seno was simply doing her job, which is to protect and promote public safety.
"Lieutenant Seno is a 28-year veteran, and was out there in response to a number of resident complaints that bicyclists were continuing to violate the restrictions," Volling said.
When the incident in question occurred, Volling said Seno was parked in the 800 block of Sheridan Road when she witnessed James bicycling in the restricted area.
"We have the authority to issue state traffic citations, which are much more strict and heavy, but instead we choose to issue the local ordinance citation for $25; it doesn't go on the driving record but does remind people to comply with the law and ensure the area is as safe as possible," Volling said.
Volling added officers and the lieutenant herself have been out often since the construction began to observe the area and to enforce the biking restrictions. He added that a number of citations already had been issued prior to James' for the same offense.
According to the article, James said he was promised a call back from Seno, but never received one.
"Lt. Seno did make an effort to contact Reverend James, and was unable to reach him," Volling said. "I have also tried several times to reach out to Mr. James, and have also been unsuccessful."
James stated he plans a press conference Saturday at 11 a.m. outside of the Glencoe Police Station where he reportedly plans to announce a civil rights case in the Northern District of Illinois, Glencoe News reported.
“We as a department take allegations like this very seriously; we are a nationally accredited agency and have policies in line with the best practices out there," Volling said.
"We provide officers with stringent training to guard against discriminatory behavior and racial profiling, and we will continue to look into this," Volling said. "At this point in time, I believe Lieutenant Seno didn't do anything inappropriate. Her actions were consistent with state and local laws and department policy."
For more information about the Sheridan Road construction area and local traffic restrictions, visit the Village of Glencoe website.