EAST ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – It has been nine months since Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law creating the Metro East Police Commission, meant to oversee crime-fighting activities in four troubled communities.
With the governor back in the area Tuesday for a ribbon-cutting, KMOX News asked about the visible lack of any progress, at least to the public eye, in getting the commission up and running.
“It’s not a political promise, it’s a law and we have to carry out the law,” Quinn said. “We appointed the members of the commission, their job is to put together the plan of public safety to make sure that people are safe at all times.”
As KMOX has reported, the commission has met only a handful of times although a spokeman says everything is on track and going as planned.
Quinn, in town for a groundbreaking event in Sauget, said a lot of coordination is needed to bring together anti-crime efforts in East St. Louis, Alorton, Brooklyn and Washington Park, and it may take a couple of years to get up to full speed. He insists that those communities are already safer places to live due to action taken since the formation of the commission.
“State police, right now, almost every other weekend, are patrolling in certain communities here to make sure we protect the people,” he said.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL, made similar comments during a press conference on gun control in East St. Louis this March.
“This idea of a metropolitan police commission really says we’re going to take the four towns over here in the worst shape, when it come to law enforcement and try and professionalize them,” he said.