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Aurora, Naperville police collaborate to crack down on traffic violations on Route 59

The Aurora and Naperville Police departments collaborated late last month to increase traffic safety along Route 59 through heightened enforcement, officials said.

On Feb. 23, officers from both departments cracked down on traffic violations that frequently lead to crashes or make crashes more dangerous, such as speeding and distracted driving, according to a news release from the Aurora Police Department.

In just one day, officers made a total of 94 stops, issued 99 citations and made four arrests, the release said.

“For a one-day detail, that’s a really impressive amount of enforcement and education,” said Lt. Andy Wolcott of the Aurora Police Department. “We’re not just doing this to write tickets, we’re doing it to make sure people are thinking these decisions through.”

Route 59 is a focus for the two departments because of the high volume of traffic on that road, which leads to a large number of crashes, according to officials from both departments. Outside of Interstate 88, Route 59 is likely the most traveled road in the region, Wolcott said.

However, traffic enforcement on Route 59 presents unique challenges since the road often acts as a boundary between Aurora and Naperville, which officials said is another reason for the collaboration.

“There are parts of it where you can be traveling northbound on Route 59 and be in Naperville’s jurisdiction, but if you’re traveling southbound on Route 59 you’re in Aurora’s jurisdiction,” said Cmdr. Rick Krakow of the Naperville Police Department.

The Aurora Police Department approached the Naperville Police Department about the recent collaboration, and the Naperville police jumped on the opportunity, according to Krakow.

Wolcott said the collaboration was effective, not only because of the number of stops and citations, but also because people noticed the two departments out in force. People often drive safer when they regularly see police officers making stops, he said.

With the success of the collaboration with the Naperville Police Department and of similar internal collaborations between divisions, he said the Aurora Police Department will likely plan other traffic safety collaborations in the future.

A larger collaboration for traffic safety on Route 59, this time led by the Naperville Police Department, is coming soon, officials said.

The initiative is a yearly collaboration between a number of law enforcement agencies that patrol Route 59 to promote traffic safety as summer nears, according to Krakow.

He said local police departments from the northern suburbs to the southern suburbs, plus county and state law enforcement agencies, get involved.

“We essentially flood Route 59 with police presence and traffic enforcement, because no matter where you are at up and down Route 59, crashes occur,” he said.

The “Five-Nine on Five-Nine” collaboration takes place yearly on May 9, officials said.

rsmith@chicagotribune.com