The officers work daily with the most dangerous people in our community, plus they are handling two to three times as many bad actors as the Illinois Supreme Court recommends. Their efforts keep those folks out of our overcrowded jail and prisons, meaning they save taxpayers $55 per day per offender.
But they are caught between our dysfunctional state and our dysfunctional county.
Illinois owes the county $5.6 million for the probation department. St. Clair County gets about $700,000 in probation fees and won’t provide an accounting of how the money is used.
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So the probation officers are threatening to strike. What are they striking over? Money? In part. Benefits? Not really.
This potential strike is mainly about that dirty caseload.
Working double or triple the number of cases is dangerous to the officers and the community. They are bound to miss something.
Voters in April didn’t give the penny sales tax for police that would have allowed more probation officers to be hired. The state’s debt towards local probation services stretches back to 2010. The county has a long history of underfunding public safety, whether it be probation or the sheriff’s department.
Your taxes are higher, so where is the money going?