Why is East St. Louis Police officer Ricky Perry still on the force?
It's hard to believe he wasn't fired years ago. He was found passed out and apparently drunk at a stoplight in Belleville in 2007. In 2009 a judge dismissed a murder case because of Perry's lack of credibility. St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly said he wouldn't use Perry as a key witness in any criminal case. And now in 2013 he is accused of being drunk on duty when he responded to an early morning burglary call.
But Perry isn't standing in an unemployment line; he is sitting at home on paid administrative leave while an investigation into the latest drinking allegation is conducted.
Expect this investigation to go nowhere. The police failed to do a breath alcohol test, so there is no physical evidence against him. Chief Michael Floore said they asked the state police to do a test but no one was available. How convenient.
East St. Louis has too many serious public safety issues to allow someone like Perry to stay on the job. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin just emphasized that the city's violent crime rate is 18 times higher than it should be for a city of its size.
"We gotta work on that," Durbin said. Having professional, credible police officers -- people who can be counted on by residents and their colleagues alike -- would be a great start.