Some Harrisburg leaders want to increase police force - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Some Harrisburg leaders want to increase police force

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HARRISBURG -- Some city leaders in Harrisburg want to hire new police officers to combat what they call growing crime trends, in an effort to ease concerned neighbors around town.

With violence and crime on the rise, Harrisburg resident James Denton worries for the safety of his 3-year-old and soon-to-be-born son.

He said a home invasion a few blocks away from his home raised concerns, just a few weeks ago.

“When things like crime and people going into other people’s homes and doing what they do, it makes you question whether you should stay here," Denton said.

Harrisburg Mayor John McPeek said city leaders plan to hire new officers to help combat the crime, off-setting a loss of workers due too workman's comp injuries.

“I believe every year if crime keeps going up, and up, I think it’s just the times that we’re having, but we definitely need more police officers on the streets in Harrisburg,” McPeek said. 

At last week's city council meeting, McPeek brought up the idea to hire two new officers.

However, board member and Public Safety Commissioner Beth Monfort raised concerns about finding money for the new hires. She told News 3 she wants to see more officers on the streets, but she also wants to make sure the board is doing things the "right way."

That led to the board putting the process on hold, for now.

McPeek has a goal of hiring one officer to start in December and another in February of 2018. He said Harrisburg is prepared and will use money from the general fund to pay the new officers. 

“I really do believe we need two new police officers on duty as soon as possible for the safety of our citizens of Harrisburg,” McPeek said. 

Taxpayers like Denton want to know that hard-working people like him can have better protection from criminals.

“Knowing that my tax dollars are going to go toward something fairly useful as in hiring more police force in the town, I’m all for that," Denton said.

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