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Des Plaines State Police headquarters targeted for cuts
By Chase Castle and Lee Filas | Daily Herald Staff

The Illinois State Police would close its Des Plaines substation, under a budget cutting plan.

 

Madhu Krishnamurthy | Daily Herald

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Published: 3/24/2010 7:58 AM | Updated: 3/24/2010 5:25 PM

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SPRINGFIELD - The head of the Illinois State Police said his department might lay off more than 460 patrol officers and close a suburban headquarters in Des Plaines to help balance the state budget.

The suburban office would be among five shuttered across Illinois. Acting State Police Director Jonathan Monken said Wednesday the goal is to maintain patrols in areas of the state where there is little to no other police presence.

"One of the things we looked at was the ability of the local areas to continue or pick up the responsibilities we would vacate," Monken said of the decision to close the Des Plaines facility, which had 182 employees in December.

The budget cutting plan also would mean state troopers would no longer help Chicago patrol its highways.

Gov. Pat Quinn's budget cuts include trimming nearly $32 million from last year's state police budget of roughly $1.2 billion in state funding.

Monken said it is possible troopers from the Des Plaines headquarters could relocate elsewhere in the state. The closures are scheduled to begin July 1 and be completed by Sept. 1, Monken said.

He said he wasn't sure, however, whether the closures still would occur if lawmakers approve a potential income tax increase sought by the governor.

"That's something I don't know," Monken said. "I'm being told to prepare as if this is going to happen."

Quinn wants an income tax increase to 4 percent from 3 percent, but the money would be only for education.

Kelly Kraft, spokeswoman for the governor's budget office, said it could help state police later on.

"If that goes through, what will happen is that will relieve pressure from the general revenue fund," Kraft said, suggesting that dollars raised beyond the roughly $1.3 billion meant to avoid education cuts could eventually free up spending in other departments. That would only happen, however, once the state pays the backlog of approximately $1.8 billion owed to schools and universities, Kraft said.

"So if that (income tax increase) goes through, we would be able to take a look and see," Kraft said.