Add Cory Allen's name to the list of indicted police officers.
Allen, the assistant chief in Centreville, is charged with making false statements to federal investigators. Prosecutors say he tried to hide the fact that he sold a gun to a felon. That's right, a department leader allegedly put a gun in a felon's hand.
This is the latest in a string of criminal indictments involving police officers from East St. Louis and surrounding communities. Every time a name gets added to the list, our hope fades that a newly enacted Metro East Police District Commission will be enough to restore integrity and credibility of the departments in that area.
We backed creation of the board, which will serve East St. Louis, Alorton, Centreville, Brooklyn and Washington Park, because this effort is preferable to simply maintaining the status quo. The board is expected to develop professional standards and improvement plans and seek law enforcement grants. But the truth is, this board will have limited influence over the day-to-day operations of the individual departments.
The better solution would be to merge those five departments into one. A larger department would have lower overhead costs, more resources in the field, more flexibility in scheduling and higher professional standards. In short, it could improve public safety.
Sadly, there is no political will to give up control of the police departments. How many names will have to follow Cory Allen's before consolidating these struggling departments does make sense?