The famous, “I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date!” White Rabbit in “Alice in Wonderland,” also typifies common railroad violators — those intent on final destinations at the exclusion of all else.
In their eagerness to get to their “very important date,” some ignore railroad traffic laws and others take shortcuts by trespassing across railroad property.
The state of Illinois dedicates one week of the year to rail safety. During this year’s Illinois Rail Safety Week Sept. 13-19, more than 380 police departments joined forces to educate and enforce railroad laws.
Also participating was the BRC Police Department — including Chief Michael Romano, Sergeant Sam Canerday, Officers Excell Calhoun, Jerry Conoboy, Al Gentile and Michael Vesconte. Joined by BRC’s safety committee, they focused on targeted crossings. Catering to the age group they encountered, they spread awareness by distributing Operation Lifesaver educational fliers or coloring books and crayons. Officers rotated educational duties and enforcing traffic and trespassing violations.
For the second consecutive year, BRC received an award for its outstanding contribution. It was among the 24 of 389 participating agencies to be recognized by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.
Conoboy, who helped organize the event, appreciated everyone who made it possible.
“We wouldn’t be able to do things like this without that support,” he said.
68 railroad police agencies and other supporting agencies
55 county sheriff agencies
21 Illinois state police districts
BRC’s contribution to Illinois Safety Rail Week:
4 Operation Lifesaver presentations
12 posters/signs displayed
235 fliers distributed
4 Pedestrian disobeying bells, signals, gates, lights, etc.
7 Obedience to signal indicating approach of train
4 Stopping, standing or parking in prohibited areas
24 Stopping/traffic obstruction
20 Trespassing on railroad property
65 Hours dedicated to enforcement