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Layoffs to gut East St. Louis police force

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NICHOLAS J.C. PISTOR
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Aug 2, 2010

The Rev. Joseph Tracy said he’s tired of going to funerals. And now, he suspects he’ll be going to more of them.

“It’s open field day now,” said Tracy, the pastor of Straightway Baptist Church here. “The criminals are going to run wild.”

Gang activity. Drug dealing. Cold-blooded killing. Tracy worries that a decision to shrink the police force by almost 30 percent will bring more of everything.

The pastor voiced his concern on Friday at a raucous special City Council meeting at which East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks announced that the city will layoff 37 employees, including 19 of its 62 police officers, 11 firefighters, four public works employees, and three administrators. The layoffs take effect on Sunday.

Parks said the weak economy has robbed the city of badly need money. For example, revenue from the Casino Queen was $900,000 below budget expectations last year. There are no signs of improvement, Parks said.

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This article was posted: Monday, August 2, 2010 at 3:36 am





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