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updated: 7/31/2014 10:39 AM

Buffalo Grove shifting minor offenses out of court system

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  • Buffalo Grove hopes to shift hearing over minor traffic and ordinance violations from the courthouse to village hall, beginning in January. Officials say the move will save the village money, save police officers time and make the process easier for those who have been ticketed.

       Buffalo Grove hopes to shift hearing over minor traffic and ordinance violations from the courthouse to village hall, beginning in January. Officials say the move will save the village money, save police officers time and make the process easier for those who have been ticketed.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer, 2013

 

Buffalo Grove hopes to hold its first administrative adjudication hearings in January for parking, nonmoving traffic and ordinance violations, as well as building and zoning violations, Police Chief Steven Casstevens said this week.

But a lot of groundwork still needs to be finished before the rollout.

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The process would divert cases involving minor offenses from the court system and put them into the hands of a hearing officer at village hall. Under the process, someone who receives a ticket from the village would either plead guilty and pay a fine or contest it before the hearing officer.

The village already holds administrative hearings for towing violations.

"The municipality benefits from this process through expedited resolutions, reduced litigation expenses and increased fine recovery," Casstevens wrote in a memo to the village board. "For the citizens of the village, it provides a locally controlled, less expensive and more convenient method for the resolution of municipal violations."

Before launching the hearings in January, the village first must hire a backup hearing officer for Melissa Wach, who handles the towing cases. Officials indicated that person could be David Eterno, the hearing officer for Lincolnwood and Cary.

The village also must create a new fine and fee schedule, and determine which cases will require an appearance by the violator at the hearing. Village staff members also are working with a ticket vendor to develop a new adjudication ticket.

Casstevens said the village will implement a marketing/public education plan to keep the public up to speed. The program will include a pamphlet explaining the adjudication process for people who receive tickets.

The village's finance department has submitted documentation to the state comptroller's office so that Buffalo Grove can be included in the Local Debt Recovery Program. If a violator fails to pay the balance of a fine within 30 days of a ruling, that person will be entered into the program, which expedites collection.

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