Last night on my way home from the meeting, I was pulled over on 95th Street because of a rear light that I did not know was burned out on my car.
Unbeknownst to me, the Illinois Secretary of State had also apparently suspended my driver’s license last week because of some unpaid parking tickets in Chicago prior to my moving to Oak Lawn a year ago. This is what the police officer told me, and everything that I know as of 12:24 a.m. Wednesday.
I was handcuffed—a first and last for me—and taken to the lockup. I was fingerprinted and had my mug shot taken. Then I sat in jail while I waited for some friends to come bail me out of the hoosegow. My bail was $150.
Rest assured, I will be on the phone to the Secretary of State first thing this morning as well as paying a visit to the Chicago Department of Revenue to get this resolved—which it will be before the end of the week.
The police knew I was the Oak Lawn Patch editor. They recognized me from various crime scenes and coming to the station to do the police blotter. While sitting in lockup, another gentleman was brought in. He was treated with the same courtesy and respect as accorded to me. The police were great actually, and very understanding—much more understanding than I deserved.
Aside from my embarrassment, my biggest discomfort was that I had drunk a Venti pumpkin spice latte during the village board meeting and had to go to the bathroom.
I know that a public record of my arrest will end up in the pile of police reports that is set aside for my colleagues in the press when they come to the station to do their respective blotters. I would respect them less if they didn’t report it. I wanted Patch readers to hear it from me first.
The job of a community journalist isn’t an easy one, especially when you live in the town that you cover, but if I’m going to hold public officials’ feet to the fire, I have to be willing to stick my own leather uppers into the flames. And my feet are burning now as I speak.
You, the readers, deserve complete transparency from your public officials. This goes for your Patch editor, too.
So let the comments fly. If you want to call me a hypocrite, go ahead. I deserve it. Don’t forget to add “sleaze” and “sensationalist.” I’ve been called those things too.
My court date is at 9 a.m. Nov. 30 at the Bridgeview Court House. You are all welcome to come.