LYNWOOD | Small-time theft will be handled internally in Lynwood, more swiftly and possibly less severely, after officials approved an ordinance last week.
The move was Police Chief Michael Mears' idea. He said other municipalities have adopted similar ordinances to streamline police work. Police will write tickets and cases will be handled through the municipal court system rather than the Sixth District Cook Circuit courthouse in Markham.
"It's going to help us free up officers that would be down for an hour or two on processing and help alleviate the courts down in Markham. We can just bring them here locally," Mears said. "Plus, for first-time offenders, it gives my officers the discretion to charge them so it doesn't go on their criminal record."
Trustees approved the ordinance with a 5-0 vote.
Trustee Bill Lebetter said it makes things easier for police and first-time offenders.
"Say somebody gets caught robbing a bag of potato chips at a store or something, police can show up and write them a ticket and it would be handled here," Lebetter said. "If your son or daughter, 16 or 17 (years old), gets caught in the grocery store we can handle it here."
"It makes it easier for them to avoid creating a criminal record," Village President Eugene Williams said. "It's more of a compassionate thing. We don't want to get kids caught up in the criminal system."
The board also adopted a series of ordinances in preparation for the building of a railroad overpass on U.S. 30. Williams said construction is expected to be started this year.
The overpass over the Canadian National Railway has been in the works since 2008.
The upgrades include some work with landscaping and the outward appearance of the walls of the structure, Williams said.
Village Clerk Karen Wingfield-Bond announced at the meeting that early voting will begin March 5 at the senior center, at 21460 E. Lincoln Highway.