I’d like to applaud State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly and Sheriff Rick Watson for their efforts in support of the Public Safety Referendum that will be on the ballot in St. Clair County on April 4, 2017.
The referendum asks for a 1 percent sales surcharge that will address many public safety issues, among them the underfunding and understaffing of the St. Clair County Probation Department. The officers of that department supervise caseloads that are dangerously high, overloaded with some of the highest risk and most violent offenders in the state.
The Probation Department only has one sex offender officer. That officer is responsible for supervising around 150 offenders, including registered sex offenders and violence against youth offenders, a fact that should be troubling to every resident.
In addition, the vast majority of officers have caseloads that are two to three times larger than the Illinois Supreme Court recommends.
A “yes” vote will go directly to support the Probation Officers in St. Clair County as well as the sheriff’s deputies, local police officers, corrections officers and firefighters.
Revenue created by this referendum can only be used to support public safety. It cannot be diverted for other uses. For instance, it cannot be used as additional revenue for the airport.
I believe that this 1 percent sales surcharge is a small investment that will increase the quality of life in St. Clair County. I respectfully ask that we support Kelly and Watson in their efforts on this referendum and please vote “yes” on April 4!
Paul Sullivan, Collinsville