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Cops Beef Up Lakefront Patrols This Weekend

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A Chicago police officer patrols North Avenue Beach on an ATV on Aug. 6, 2011. (Credit: CBS)

A Chicago police officer patrols North Avenue Beach on an ATV on Aug. 6, 2011. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Chicago police were stepping up patrols along the lakefront this weekend to handle the large crowds expected at the city’s beaches and for the Lollapalooza music festival.

As CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports, police even found a way to use the ATVs that were recently pulled off the beaches.

Meantime, two men were seriously injured Saturday night when they were hit by a car near the Lollapalooza music festival.

The men, both in their 20s, were running across Lake Shore Drive near Buckingham Fountain at about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, when they were hit by a vehicle, police said.

The car remained on the scene following the accident, police said. Both victims were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in serious condition.

The accident happened as police were increasing patrols along the lakefront to handle the large crowds expected at Lollapalooza and spillover expected at the city’s beaches.

A department spokesperson said last week that, when large scale events are taking place, some officers will use ATVs that had been pulled off of regular lakefront patrols.

In light of Lollapalooza and the possibility of large crowds at the lakefront this weekend the ATVs were in use Saturday night.

ATVs, which had been put in storage in a police garage, were brought to the lakefront by horse trailers because the ATVs are not designed for use on the streets.

The move came after top brass at the Chicago Police Department had issued an order removing all ATVs from the beach. The vehicles apparently were not certified to be used on the roads, so officers were not able to drive them to the beach.

Now the four by fours must be brought to the beach in transport vehicles, so officers can patrol.

“I think that’s pretty good because that helps protect us,” Chicago resident Mario Pacheco said. “They should keep it up all the time, not just around the events. They should do it year round.”

Sources said the ATVs were back in use this weekend because of large crowds expected at Lollapalooza and an anticipated spillover at the beaches.

At North Avenue Beach, there were not only officers on ATVs, but on foot, riding bikes and in unmarked squad cars. Even an Office of Emergency Management and Communications vehicle was in place monitoring the beach.

“We’re just coming out here to enjoy ourselves and have a wonderful time and it makes us feel a lot safer knowing the police are there, so things won’t get out of hand. No criminal activity will be going on,” Chicago resident Nicole Jones said.

Dorothea Pacini said, “I’m pleased with the police presence. I think earlier in the summer, we just had a lot of incidents. I live in Streeterville and we just had a lot of negative incidents and I’m glad to see the police protection. I feel a lot safer.”

Police have had their hands full at Lollapalooza this weekend, with 17 arrests and 69 violations issued for everything from jumping a fence to public drinking.

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