WIUM Local
2:52 pm
Wed March 24, 2010

ISP Headquarters in Macomb Slated For Closure

Macomb, IL – The Illinois State Police will be the next to face state budget cuts. If Gov. Pat Quinn's budget proposal goes through, ISP's District 14 headquarters in Macomb will shut down in September.

Acting Director Jonathon Monken appeared before a Senate Appropriations Committee in Springfield Tuesday to outline the plan. He says the cuts will result in a loss of $32 million, which would force the agency to lay off 600 officers. That's roughly 30 percent of the entire force.

Four other district headquarters would also be shut down: Des Plaines (which is the only ISP headquarters to serve Chicago and all of Cook County), Pecatonica, Carmi, and Litchfield.

The District 14 headquarters in Macomb has 32 sworn officers on staff. The district serves Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, McDonough and Warren counties.

Monken says these five facilities were chosen in part due to availability of other nearby agencies, and relatively low crime rates in the districts.

But McDonough County Sheriff Rick VanBrooker doesn't buy that.

"If [Monken] is basing it on low crime rate, why would you take the resources away because we're doing our job?" he asks. "If it's because other agencies are available, the reason we're able to do other things is because we all work together."

VanBrooker says McDonough County sheriff's deputies, who are already stretched thin, will have to do even more stretching to respond to traffic accidents and other incidents frequently handled by ISP deputies.

He says the closure of D-14 Headquarters will also have a negative effect on his department's balanced, in the black budget.

"[District 14] Captain Elliot and I sat down when I first came into office. We use our resources together to save overtime on both sides," says VanBrooker. "If he's got troopers out, I don't have to call people out to handle accidents, you know, say early in the morning."

Officers and employees at District 14 headquarters say they can't comment on the closures. They're forwarding all questions to Illinois State Police headquarters in Springfield.

Interim Director Monken says cutting nearly 600 officers would reduce the force to roughly 1,450. He says that's the lowest number in 40 to 50 years.