Prospect Heights, Il., near Chicago, decided this week to close its police station to the public to save money, reports the Chicago Tribune. The suburban community of 17,000 also will shut down City Hall on Fridays because furloughs of public employees, including patrol officers, have left too few workers to staff the facilities. “It’s sort of unheard of to close your Police Department 24 hours a day to the public,” said City Administrator Pam Arrigoni.
Although the closing in Prospect Heights, which faces a $330,000 budget shortfall this year, is striking, observers of municipal finances said the same bleak choices soon may become all too common in the area as local governments confront similar budget holes. Prospect Heights’ police chief and other department command personnel have been assigned to regular patrol shifts in order to maintain visibility on the streets, but that has left too few officers to staff the station, Arrigoni said.