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posted: 12/6/2012 5:00 AM

Out-of-towners getting more tickets?

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I was stopped by Schaumburg police some time back for not having my seat belt on. No excuse, I usually put it on as soon as I am seated, and in fact I had just put it on when I was pulled over. The first thing the officer asked was where I lived. I told him Elk Grove Village. He then asked for my driver's license and gave me a $40 warning ticket. When he came back to my car after, as he handed the ticket to me with his smarmiest smile, he uttered "Have a good day!" The sarcasm wasn't lost on me.

Several weeks later, a friend was stopped by Streamwood police for exceeding the speed limit. The first thing the officer asked was "What city do you live in?" When she said Elgin, he immediately asked for her license and ticketed her for doing 50 mph in a 35 mph zone. She is a senior with no previous tickets, and the judge slapped a $285 fine on her.

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It was a beautiful Sunday morning in both cases, and the officers had to work and we didn't, and neither of us would argue the appropriateness of the tickets, so far as our violating the statutes. However, I'm convinced that had we responded with "Schaumburg" and "Streamwood," respectively, the officers would have been disposed to go a little more lenient. I am also convinced that it is a common practice for police to pursue court cases for those people they stop who are not from the officer's town.

If I go to local departments and try to find out just what percentage of stops result in tickets for drivers who live outside the area, I'm sure I would run into a brick wall. Can someone investigate this issue?

Marty McDonald

Elk Grove Village

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