Hundreds Protest Naperville Police Layoffs

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (CBS) – There is fear and frustration in Naperville as the city plans big cuts in the local police department. On Tuesday night, hundreds of supporters joined officers on the street in protest. CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports.

A crowd of Naperville police officers, their families, friends and supporters gathered Tuesday night to protest the city’s plan to lay off six officers to save money.

Residents are concerned about safety.

“Crime doesn’t take a vacation. It doesn’t take off because there’s less police officers,” said Naperville resident Mary Ann Eberhardt.

Then, the crowd, some 400 strong, began a half-mile march to Naperville’s City Hall.

Naperville’s Fraternal Order of Police union says it negotiated a new contract with the city in good faith, never suspecting there would be firings.

“We thought it was a done deal. Within days, they turned around and said, ‘now that you’ve accepted this deal, we’re gonna lay you off.’ And for lack of a better word, we felt it was a double-cross,” said Naperville Police Officer Vince Clark.

Outside City Hall, protesters chanted “lock your doors” to people worried about their safety.

But inside the packed meeting called to ratify the layoff plan, the Naperville City Manager tried to quell those fears.

“We’re confident that our existing police force will continue to keep our city safe,” said Naperville City Manager Douglas Krieger. “The layoffs were a business decision based on our budget. And we still face a budget deficit of about $5 million for next year.”

Late Tuesday night, the Naperville City Council voted to postpone the decision to lay off the six officers for three weeks.

There is no guarantee that the city will rescind those planned firings. Like cities across the country, Napervile is facing a rocky economic future.

  • JOHN C

    Get rid of them, it will make no difference at all.

    • Concerned Citizen

      John C’s comment sounds like someone ready to break into your house! Or did it already, successfully!

  • Gary Dee, Portland, Oregon

    Are the people of Naperville willing to pay enough taxes to support having enough police officers?

  • concerned citizen

    Hey john who will you call if you need the police. Huh I guess no one cause you don’t need them. Amazing how things will change when you’re in a car accident or have something stolen. Maybe they should just not help or save you.

  • T.J. Jeznach

    Laying off cops is a bad move politically, because it makes the community unsafe, and costs more in losses. Bad move Naperville – maybe A&E should have shown a different city on their Female Forces show.

  • Sick of the BS

    Less traffic circles, less sister city BS, Why spend Millions on new Radio Contract with Erickson,

  • Jim

    Obviously, there is a need for the total number of Police Officers, or they wouldn’t have hired them in the first place. If cutting heads was so important, do it from a less critical role, such as an administrator. Clearly, the Police and Fire Commission gave a pitch to the City that they NEED Police. Now, they are being let go. I feel sorry for these Officers and their families, as they were all recently hired (left other jobs), then let go. I hope they win the lawsuit in court, and know that the City of Naperville will be paying much more in legal costs than the salaries. Perhaps it’s a political stunt showing the citizens that they are doing something about the budget deficit? Good luck to these Officers and you will be in my prayers.

  • John H

    John C’s comments are what people usually say that are resentful after they have been caught by the police doing something wrong.

  • DM

    i think this is a much more economically efficient solution. I know that the crime rate in Naperville is much lower than the national median and that crime in Naperville is not an issue. I know that the Naperville Police employ about 300 including 200 officers. This seems like overkill to me. Alot of money is spent on a number of patrol units, their officers, plus their equipment, which is rather extensive, and a variety of vehicles from squad cars to unmarked cars. This is just not necessary for protecting the community in Naperville and all of this just mentioned is terribly expensive. I also suspect that the 400-strong crowd outside of City Hall are all closely connected to the Police Dept (300 police staff – 400 supporters – 150,000 people total – come on, do the math!). While their concners are serious and legitimate, and it is a shame that people will lose their jobs, it is important to understand that this is how public policy works – there is always a tradeoff between “fairness” and efficiency. At the end of the day, it just doesn’t make sence for taxpaying citizens in Naperville to throw money away funding a large and expensive police force – even if cutting the police force means that a number of families will be negatively impacted.

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