Illinois State Police Trooper DeAnn Falat will begin her 20th year in public service next month.
Falat currently holds the title of safety education officer with the agency’s local District 5 branch, located in Lockport. She has been in the position, which she completes on top of normal patrol duties, since 2010.
“We teach safety, so we go to schools and do ‘driver’s ed’ presentations, we do senior citizens defensive driving, we teach little kids stranger danger – basically anything safety-related we’ll come out and do a presentation for,” Falat told The Herald-News Saturday at the Chicago Auto Show. She also handles most media relations for the Will County area.
Falat said the auto show, which claims to be the nation’s largest of its kind, offers a change of pace. She has been attending since 2010.
“I do like it, meeting people. Normally, it’s a lot of safety questions,” Falat said. “Hopefully we can give them good advice. There’s times people want to complain, and we listen to that, too.”
State police stress the importance of the so-called “Fatal Four,” including speeding, driving under the influence, not wearing seatbelts and driving with distractions, Falat said. However, troopers have also been noticing a concerning uptick in police being hit on the sides of roadways.
“The biggest thing we have an issue with is Scott’s Law. We just lost a trooper about a month ago,” Falat said. “When you see emergency lights flashing, slow down and change lanes away from them. It’s just happening way too much.”