The Illinois State Police will lay off more than 460 troopers and close five regional headquarters by this fall, acting State Police director Jonathon Monken said yesterday, reports the Springfield State Journal-Register. With expected retirements, the layoffs will reduce the number of sworn state troopers by about 600, or 30 percent. The force has a little over 2,000 troopers.
“There will be significant consequences to public safety,” Monken warned. “We expect an increase in traffic fatalities, increased exposure to terrorist threats in Illinois, an increase in gun and drug trafficking, in addition to the loss of an estimated $12 million in citation revenue for counties across the state.” The cuts are being made necessary by the state's budget crisis, Monken told a Senate appropriations committee. “Under this budget plan, the Illinois State Police will become a different agency,” Monken said, “no longer providing pro-active programs to keep our citizens safe, but only able to respond to calls for assistance.” Response times in some areas of the state could grow to two or three hours. “It could be 80 or 100 miles” to some crash scenes, he said.