Snapshots of traffic police in Chicago


I don’t envy the job of traffic police in Chicago.  People drive fast, they ignore signals, they honk, they text, they act like idiots.  And your job is to stand there in the middle of the street and make them drive more sensibly.  Yikes.  That said, I’ve also seen a couple things that were alternately funny and somewhat disturbing.  Here are two memorable police moments (in reverse order of timeliness), all from my walk between LaSalle station and my building on Congress parkway:

  1. Last week, I walked toward a street where I had the light and was planning to cross.  In front of me, another pedestrian had just made his way across the street in front of a CPD SUV sitting at the stoplight with its emergency lights flashing blue.  I saw the officer inside scowling at the pedestrian, as I would have if I were the officer.  He’d walked in front of a police car with its emergency lights on.  What the heck! So I stopped on the corner, waiting for the officer to proceed into the intersection.  Instead, the officer looks up, sees me waiting, and then turns off the emergency lights.  I still had a walk signal, so I crossed the street, reassessing my initial reaction — what had the officer been scowling at?
  2. The heroic traffic conductors working State and Congress are awesome.  Daily I see them pointing, blowing whistles, and shepherding traffic faster than the lights can.  My favorite moments come when they holler at inattentive drivers, trilling their whistles at cars who should be moving but aren’t or waving back over-eager stoplight waiters edging forward before their time.

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