Are Wisconsin Troopers Cheesed Off At Illinoisans?
Cops Up North More Likely To Give Tickets To Motorists From The Land Of Lincoln
CHICAGO (CBS) ― Click to enlarge1 of 1
Wisconsin officials disagree that troopers in their state are targeting Illinois drivers for speeding tickets, though some statistics suggest otherwise. CBS
numSlides of totalImages
Ever feel like you have a target on your back when you enter Wisconsin?
It's your Illinois license plate. CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports.
There's no love lost. We call them "Cheeseheads," and they call us FIBs.
Sgt. Anthony Burrell of the Wisconsin State Police is familiar with the expletive-laden expression about Illinoisans.
Illinois motorists may get the feeling from the way they're treated by Wisconsin state police.
"Our main charge is safety, and that's what we're out here to do," Burrell said. "We're going to do that, day in and day out, whether they're from Illinois or whether they're from Wisconsin."
Yet statistics show that only 40 percent of Wisconsin drivers stopped get tickets, compared with 60 percent of Illinois drivers stopped there.
Fred McGill commutes between Chicago and Milwaukee and said he has received two tickets -- one for going 11 miles over the speed limit and one for going 8 over.
Illinois state Rep. Jack Franks' legislative district borders Wisconsin.
"It's selective enforcement," the Woodstock Democrat said. "That's what I figure, because if they hit someone from Illinois they know that person's not gonna come to court and challenge it."
During Levine's short ride along Thursday, trooper Matt Barlar stopped two motorists -- one from Illinois, who clocked in at 78 mph in a 65 mph zone; and one from Wisconsin, going 75 mph. He gave both warnings.
"I have my cutoff point -- it doesn't matter the state, male (or) female, black or white," he said.
Yet the statistics show Illinoisans are more likely to be ticketed when stopped than they are.
"It could very well be that the Illinois drivers are driving a much faster speed than our drivers here in Wisconsin," Sgt. Burrell speculated.
In other words, faster than the Wisconsin counterparts who troopers let off with warnings.
Pressed about the statistics, Wisconsin state Rep. Tom Lothian had this to say: "Maybe Illinois has got poorer drivers."
"I certainly think we need to talk to the police chiefs, because it's obvious that they are targeting Illinois vehicles," Franks said. "It may not be illegal, but it's certainly morally wrong."
If its happening, which wisconsin police say its not.
Whats the old saying? "Figures lie and liars figure." Well in this case, either Illinois motorists aren't getting the same benefit of the doubt the locals do -- or the locals know that magic number which separates warning from ticket.
Troopers have the discretion.
(© MMIX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)