Community could lose police protection

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Reporter - Kendall Downing

ELKVILLE, Ill. - Cutting the cops. A local community could take drastic steps to get its budget balanced.

Daniel Colcord, Chairman of Elkville's Finance Committee recently brought up two proposals to cut the village's already bare-bones police force.

He said cutting the police department altogether and selling the equipment would save about $90,000. He also proposed reducing the department to one part-time officer.

Currently Elkville has a chief and a part-time officer, and calls are not answered around the clock.

"We still need to figure out what we need in the immediate future," said Colcord.

Colcord said the budget isn't balanced. The general fund has a shortfall in the $40,000 range, and it would take $300,000 to fully fund the village's pensions.

At a special meeting Friday, he is on track to talk about his proposal, getting rid of the police department.

"It tends to get targeted because it's the easiest place you can find things you can cut," he said.

But a number of residents aren't pleased. The Elkville Crime Stoppers sent an email to Local 6 earlier in the week saying the voters should have input before the already small department is closed.

If it happens, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office will cover the area, but they are located in Murphysboro, about 15 miles away.

"I've lived in this town like 47 years," said Gail Potter.

Potter said she's hate to see the police force go, but she gets how serious the situation is.

"I understand finances, they'll do what they have to do," she said.

Colcord said the cut isn't a done deal. He hopes his fellow trustees come up with alternative plans.

"At least a couple really good plans that we can decide on what options to take," he said.

The issue will be on the agenda for the council's next regular meeting on July 25th.

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