Elmwood Park Village Board passes anti-loitering law aimed at gangs

The Elmwood Park Village Board unanimously voted July 21 to amend the village’s code to include language dealing with gangs and narcotics-related loitering. | Sun-Times Media File

Elmwood Park police hope to have more leverage when it comes to dealing with gangs, loitering and drug dealing, thanks to a new law passed by the Village Board.

The Elmwood Park Village Board unanimously voted July 21 to amend the village’s code to include language dealing with gangs and narcotics-related loitering. The new law gives police the ability to confront people loitering who may be suspected to be members of a gang, selling drugs or both.

Under the new ordinance, police can tell loiterers to leave, and if the loiterers return to the same area within an eight-hour period, they could be fined from $100 up to $750 for each offense or arrested. If found guilty, the loiterers could face as much as six months in jail for each offense. Second-time offenders would face a mandatory minimum sentence of five days in jail, if found guilty. Violators may also be required to perform 120 hours of community service.

Elmwood Park Police Chief Frank Fagiano said the legislation is a way to help his officers do their job.

“It’s an additional tool for police to use while out on patrol,” he said. “It gives more options for our police officers to use.”

Fagiano said if there’s gang and drug activity in the village, they want to be prepared.

“We want to kept it safe for the residents and keep it safe by being proactive,” he said.

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