On April 7, 2020, Naperville City Council held its first virtual meeting. One year later, the group was back in council chambers for the first time, at least partially.
Four council members attended the meeting in-person, while five took part via Zoom for the hybrid model. However, that system could be short-lived.
“It’s great to be back in city council chambers, but this is very difficult to run and host a meeting when we have some people remote,” said Mayor Steve Chirico. “The audio is problematic, I’ve had several people text me that they’re getting feedback or they can’t hear, or they’ve lost audio.”
Chirico asked city staff to come back to the next meeting with a schedule for when council and speakers can return full time.
Others added that once all council members are vaccinated, that transition could be easier.
Street Racing Increase
Council also discussed dangerous driving behaviors that seem to be occurring more frequently on Naperville roads.
Two speakers brought up the issue in public forum, and Police Chief Bob Marshall discussed it at length during new business, saying street racing incidents in places like downtown, on Aurora Avenue, and in the parking decks have been more frequent in the past year.
“Police presence and strict enforcement efforts alone have not been completely effective in curtailing this type of driving behavior that’s very disruptive,” said Chief Marshall.
Fleeing Traffic Stops
Marshall also said there’s a “tremendous increase” in vehicles fleeing from traffic stops.
“The four year average for individuals who flee and elude police were 19 per year. In 2020, there were 48 incidents where individuals fled from police officers that were making lawful traffic stops. In the first three months of 2021, 17 individuals have fled from the police,” he said.
Chief Marshall suggested some of these incidents could be gang-related and also said last summer’s protests calling to defund or abolish the police have created disrespect for officers.
Council discussed options like installing speed bumps downtown and in parking decks, closing parking decks at night, and raising fines for violators, though City Attorney Mike DiSanto said those fines are usually set at the state level.
City staff will bring more detailed ideas to a future council meeting.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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