The most recent Illinois State Police “Crime in Illinois” Report shows that for the last year on record, there were nearly 8,000 serious crimes in St. Clair County – a 5 percent increase over the previous year. This included 32 homicides, 1,164 aggravated assaults (up 6 percent), 1,467 burglaries (up 18 percent), and 4,344 thefts (up 3 percent). And yet there are 20 percent fewer patrol deputies working today than there were six years ago.
No one likes tax increases, but the fact is that St. Clair County will only remain an attractive place to live and work if there are enough deputies on the street to effectively enforce the law. If the citizens vote “yes” on the upcoming referendum in April, the Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council will ensure that every dime of the 1 percent dedicated to improving public safety law enforcement resources will go toward just that: to creating safer staffing on the road and in the jail, more secure and humane jail facilities, better equipment, and much-needed training opportunities for those who daily step into harm’s way to protect the rest of us.
Any extra money raised will be returned to the local communities to improve their own public safety units, which often work jointly with the men and women who serve as St. Clair County peace officers. The tax is reasonable and temporary, and those of us who monitor county operations and finances will ensure that it will be spent appropriately. The FOP Labor Council is asking citizens to vote “yes” in April!
James Daniels, Springfield