Officer Randy Smith knows keeping the citizens in the Village of Winnebago safe brings a heavy workload, and says that with responsibilities increasing, the department needs more help.
When they're waiting for us to get to a call and you have two or three backed up and you can't get to them right away. The night shift guys are out here by themselves...so it would be nice to have an extra officer on duty”, says Smith.
Smith is one of seven officers on the village of Winnebago police force who have faced difficulties, including longer response times, since 2 were cut from the staff in 2008. To bring in more help, the village is asking the state for financial grant assistance to expand its force.
"The type of grants we're looking at are ones where you can bring on one, two or three officers for a couple of years, like Rockford has done, and where we can then after the three year period of those grants, pay for the fourth year”, says Village President Frank Eubanks.
In 2008 and 2010, the Winnebago Village board added a referendum to ballots that would have brought another officer on board, but both were overwhelmingly voted down...
"I think things are adequate. You might have to add somebody in the summer months when there's more going on but I don't believe we need two people running around…can't hardly keep up with the money that it takes to have one guy at night”, says resident Donald Hubbartt.
Eubanks says without the grants, it could be at least another year until room for adding another officer could be found in the budget.