When Mark Eckert became an alderman in 1997 there were 81 police officers in Belleville. Belleville also had a community police program. Eckert helped do away with that program, as well as the police drug unit.
Today the perception is that Belleville is unsafe. All you have to do is look at who has been in charge since 1997. Today Belleville has 82 police officers -- 83 if you count Eckert, who drives around Belleville in a police car at the taxpayers' expense. He is the only mayor in city history to do so.
By FBI standards, Belleville should have 82 to 124 police officers. Now, at certain times, Belleville has only three or four officers on the streets.
Since 2004 Eckert has added only one officer. Alderman Phil Elmore has been weak on crime also. Alderman Joe Hayden, with budget and TIF reform, will work to add more police officers if he is elected mayor.
Elmore has been an alderman since 2009. He stated then that he was running because he was concerned about his neighborhood.
In 2011 he met with Bob Sprague, chairman of the St. Clair County Democratic Party. Phil then wanted to be a state representative. Now he is running for Belleville mayor. What does he want to be when he grows up? Phil has no plan for Belleville other than what other candidates previously stated.
Hayden has the determination and education to turn Belleville around. He also has his own car to drive to City Hall.
Devin A. Kaemmerer Sr.
(Editor's note: Kaemmerer was a Belleville Ward 7 alderman from 1993 to 2001.)