EAST ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Brendan Kelly, the St. Clair County State’s Attorney, says small Metro East towns such as East St. Louis need more police officers.
“We don’t have nearly enough, not even close to enough, police officers in the Metro East,” he said. “We also don’t have nearly enough intelligence across our jurisdictions. Evidence that should be shared within hours too often isn’t shared for days, weeks later. There are lessons, things we’ve learned during this process of having the Major Case Squad involved in this.”
Kelly adds that while East St. Louis has made some strides in hiring more police, “Even with those new guys, statistically speaking they’re in the forties, maybe approaching the fifties. In terms of the number of officers, they really should have about eighty, given the population.”
East St. Louis Police Chief Michael Floore says Mayor Alvin Parks knows more police must be hired. “We’re going to have to do something to get more police officers on the street so we can get this crime under control and take our city back.”
Kelly adds the rampant crime is also the result of generations ignoring the meltdown of communities. “When you have decades of public officials thinking they can just protect their little corner of the world while entire neighborhoods are seething under lawlessness, this is what happens, you have an armed robbery in a church.” Kelly was referring to the armed robbery of an East St. Louis church last last month.
“We have to pull our heads out of the sand and make fighting and preventing crime the first priority for this region at the local, federal, and state level,” he said.
“Even in the communities that have very strong police departments, even they do not have enough. The Illinois State Police, there aren’t enough troopers in this particular zone, particularly in places like Washington Park and Brooklyn where they really don’t have any resources to draw on to be able to hire police in those areas, the Illinois State Police often provide the backup.”