By Talia Kaplan
Collinsville, IL (KSDK) - Community leaders in the Metro East are upset with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's plan to consolidate state police communications centers.
Currently Illinois has 20 call centers. With the proposed consolidation, that number will be reduced to four and the Metro East would be covered by a center in Springfield. This is something State's Attorney Tom Gibbons and area police chiefs think is a terrible idea.
"It is absolutely essential that we have people, qualified local people available to answer calls and handle communications for this region," said Gibbons.
"We all understand that cuts need to me made but this plan is very flawed and we just do not believe that it makes good sense not only for the law enforcement community but for the citizens of state of Illinois," said Troy Police Chief Robert Rizzi.
He says the Metro East is the most violent and dangerous place in the country. He says in East St. Louis alone the murder rate is 20 times the national average and that's why it's so important for dispatchers to be familiar with the area.
In a press conference Thursday nearly two dozen police chiefs from all over the region supported Chief Rizzi and State's Attorney Gibbons.
In response, Illinois State Police say they are confident no public safety will be compromised. Illinois State Police also says the plan will keep officers safer with newer technology, like GPS that can pinpoint an officer's location.
Governor Quinn had no comment.
The process of consolidating the Collinsville dispatch center will start at the end of the summer.