Residents upset over drastic cuts to Lyons Police Department - KMSP-TV

Residents upset over drastic cuts to Lyons Police Department

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Plans for drastic cuts to a suburban police department have residents outraged.

The Lyons police budget takes up 50 percent of the village budget and the mayor wants to reduce that down to 40 percent, to, in part, save on pension costs.

That means seven police officers have to go, and the entire dispatching operation would be handled by a private company, which would work at Village Hall.

At a packed village hall budget meeting Wednesday night, police officers stood in back applauding speakers who decried the very idea of having fewer officers on patrol.

"My mom still lives here and if there's only 18 officers on the street that is sad, it's really sad for my mom's safety, for everybody's safety," former dispatcher Melissa Rodriguez said.

The police unions are in negotiations with the village, and the Illinois Fraternal order of Police said cutting officers could open the door to more crime.

"These cuts would also send a message to drug dealers, gang banger and sex offenders that the village of Lyons is not adequately staffed to protect their residents," Dan Mohoney with the Illinois FOP said.

Even one of the trustees joined the chorus.

"I am not for cutting our police force by any means when we have other municipalities that are hiring, like Stickney, Elmhurst," said Patricia Krueger.

But in the end, the budget passed. But the mayor says union negotiations will continue and if the village gets concessions on pay and benefits, it's possible no police officers will have to be let go.

"We're looking to work within the tax dollars we're given," Mayor Christopher Getty said. "And we're not looking to increase any taxes on the residents and we're gonna have our departments work within their means."

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