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WINFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — The western suburb of Winfield is considering an unusual step to save money.
As WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports, the Village of Winfield is considering doing away with its police force altogether, in order to generate savings that it can use to repair roads, according to a Chicago Tribune report.
Winfield consultants Laurence Mulcrone and Daniel McDevitt prepared a study outlining the pros and cons of eliminating the 19-member Winfield police force, the Tribune reported.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports
The DuPage County Sheriff’s office would take over law enforcement in the town if the plan went ahead.
Many residents oppose the idea, with “save our police” signs cropping up on lawns all over town, the Tribune reported.
The Winfield Police Department’s budget accounts for less than 20 percent of the total village budget, the newspaper reported.
The village board is expected to take up the issue on Thursday, Aug. 16.
While Winfield would be the first community in the state to dismantle an active police force in order to save money, it would not be the first to dismantle an active police force at all.
The elimination of police departments is not unheard of for suburban towns.
The police department in south suburban Ford Heights was disbanded in 2008. Its force of 16 officers was reduced to zero over a period of about a year because the village couldn’t afford to pay them.
Cook County sheriff’s office now handle police patrols in Ford Heights, but the closure of its police department led to other problems, such as a cache of weapons and evidence from various crimes – including seven moldy sexual assault kits – that were left abandoned until sheriff’s police found them more than a year later.
And in the Will County town of Homer Glen, county sheriff’s deputies provide law enforcement. Homer Glen has never had its own police department at all, the Tribune reported.