Road Rage Suspect Identified in Minutes

May 28, 2021 by Kate Nadolski

Road Rage Suspect Identified in Minutes

Imagine solving a road rage incident knowing just two digits from a license plate number. That’s exactly what the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office in Illinois did within minutes thanks to quick-thinking and a powerful records management solution.

The road rage incident was triggered when a man alleged a woman unlawfully entered the roadway after obtaining her morning cup of coffee. The man began yelling obscenities at the woman, then further escalated the situation by pulling out a gun and waving it in the woman’s general direction before he sped off.

Before calling 911, the woman involved was able to gather two digits from the center of his license plate number as he drove away. Lt. Trent Bukowski with the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office said they heard the incident come in over the radio.

“The victim was in shock and was unable to describe the suspect,” said Bukowski. “Many times, if someone experiences a violent crime, it’s almost impossible for them to remember any specifics.”

In this case, the victim was able to provide the color and make of the car along with those two digits from the suspect’s license plate number to the dispatcher. Even that small amount of information combined with quick police work and the right technology resulted in a case solved.

“We put out the information that we had to our officers and neighboring agencies and we ran it through our public safety software, which is when we got a hit,” Bukowski said. “When I looked up the owner of the vehicle, I discovered he was a known offender.”

Using their records management system, Bukowski was able to send a mugshot of the suspect to the officer at the scene with the victim. The victim was able to identify the suspect.

“We knew exactly who we were looking for within four to five minutes,” said Bukowski.

As a seasoned law enforcement veteran, Bukowski credits the efficiency and speed they experienced in this case is in part due to their access to technology and records management data.

“Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office uses a multi-agency records management system where all agencies within the county are on one shared system that we host, including one radio system,” he said. “If all those factors weren’t in play that day, this suspect would not have been found.”

Bukowski said his agency can work very quickly and efficiently, especially with the help of technology. Without the right tools, he says things would’ve turned out much differently in this case.

“Without this technology, this would’ve gone nowhere,” said Bukowski. “We would’ve had the victim go to the police department and give a statement but there would’ve been no way to follow up and this person would’ve gotten away with that they did.”

Kankakee County Sheriff Mike Downey also weighed in on this case, and said it demonstrates the power of regional data-sharing among law enforcement and demonstrates the success a multi-jurisdictional system can have.

“Having this information available at a moment’s notice to our officers in the field not only saves time and resources, but it improves the solvability of violent crimes and ultimately keeps our communities safer and our police agencies running that much more efficiently,” said Downey.

The suspect involved in this road rage incident was arrested later the same week and prosecuted. As for the woman whose morning coffee run turned into an experience she would never forget, Bukowski said she was pleased with the outcome.

“She was pretty shocked that we were able to quickly solve this case with the two digits of the license plate number she caught,” said Bukowski. “She was very thankful that the suspect was found and brought to justice.”

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