Carbondale to see strong police presence during eclipse weekend



(Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

By Joseph McLaughlin

The Great American Eclipse is fast approaching and soon an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 people will flock to southern Illinois.

Although national attention has been increasingly focused on the region in recent months, Carbondale law enforcement has been planning for the Aug. 21 crowds for well over a year, according to Carbondale Deputy Police Chief Stan Reno.

Officials from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies have undertaken a massive effort to ensure the celestially-minded tourists have a safe setting in which to stargaze, Reno said.


Although Reno could not specify how many officers will be on patrol over the course of the festivities, he said eclipse-watchers will see a strong police presence.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department will also be increasing its staffing levels through Tuesday and adding extra patrols to help handle the influx of people, according to a flyer sent out by the Sheriff’s Department.

Additionally, the flyer said the sheriff’s office will be setting up a mobile response trailer in the parking lot of the Southern Illinois Healthcare training facility at New Rte. 13 and Reed Station Road in Carbondale. The public is encouraged to visit if assistance is needed. The trailer will also have a limited number of eclipse viewing glasses.

In January, the Carbondale City Council approved an ordinance to permit open alcohol containers in the downtown area. The alcoholic beverages must be in plastic containers and can only be consumed between Jackson and Mill Streets and Washington Street and University Avenue from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. It must also be purchased from licensed liquor establishments within the approved zone. Coolers and outside alcohol are not allowed.

Reno said officers want the public to help them to identify any issues or law-breaking they witness during eclipse weekend.

“If you see something, say something,” he said.

Police are also asking that eclipse-watchers enjoy the phenomenon from a safe location, rather than the side of the road. Traffic will be heavy and sitting on the shoulder could be a safety hazard, Reno said.


For all eclipse information, visit or call 618-967-5220, a special hotline established by the city just for the weekend. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office suggests visiting or calling 618-687-4403 or 618-687-4404 with questions and concerns.

Staff writer Joe McLaughlin can be reached at or on Twitter at @jmcl_de.

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