Home for the summer: All in a day’s work for local law enforcement
By: Jan Kent, Lake County News Chronicle
Urban law enforcement officers eat your hearts out! At home I read the police reports in the local paper, and I do the same up here. Most of the news is the same old stuff – speeding, expired license plate tags, no insurance, no valid driver’s license, tail-light out, funny stuff in plastic bags discovered when stopped for tail-light violation, and so on. Up here there’s not much of a problem with running traffic lights due to the lack of traffic lights.
Ah, but what Chicagoland police are missing! One North Shore officer reports that a deer ran into the side of his squad car as he escorted an ambulance. During another week only Wednesday had no “vehicle vs. deer” incidents. Everywhere, I suppose, police are called when a dog bites a postman, but in the News-Chronicle I also read of a call because dogs were harassing chickens. (Poor chickens.) One report indicated that a black horse was loose on Highway 1, and another that several horses were galloping around on Highway 2.
Given that coyotes seem to have established themselves just about everywhere, even in urban areas, a call to the authorities about their presence is probably as likely in Chicago as it is in the north woods. Up here and down there, coyotes make it their business to check out garbage cans, harass small dogs and fool people into thinking they’re foxes or wolves.
On the other hand, a report about wolves possibly living under a cabin is only going to happen up here. Maybe wolves under the cabin is what led to the call regarding someone living in a tent in the woods near town.
Chicago has its own great lake – Michigan – so I suppose law enforcement folks there are getting calls about empty kayaks floating by and capsized canoes (both very ominous), but probably no calls about a canoe lost right on the highway. They’re also not likely to be summoned to rescue a climber stuck at the bottom of a cliff. Northern Illinois is definitely a cliff-free area.
The DNR reports, of course, add a lot of interesting incidents to the mix – missing backpackers, wolves, mangy and otherwise; moose calf sleeping on the road; moose mother and baby frolicking in a lake; eagles distressed, injured, acting strangely.
And bears, bears, bears. Nuisance bears in settled areas, the etiquette of bear-baiting, bears in berry patches.
But the big story is always fish. Too large, too small, too many. Fishermen without licenses, with expired licenses, with unlicensed boats. Or, as one poetic DNR officer put it: Anglers behaving badly.