Lyons residents support police reorganization at board meeting
By Staff reportsMore than 200 residents of Lyons attended the Village Board meeting Wednesday night to show support for a re-organization of the Police Department that will save more than $650,000 a year and put police assigned to desk jobs on street patrol.
The majority of the attendees at the April 16th Board Meeting supported the Village reorganization.
“There are times when good leaders have to make tough decisions,” said Lyons resident Richard Balicki who attended the meeting. “I commend Mayor Getty for making these difficult choices while always keeping the best interest of the tax payers dollars in mind.”
Getty and the reorganization also received the support of former Lyons Mayor Marie Vachata who praised the board for working hard to manage the budget and provide a safe community for resident.
The reorganization will include laying-off seven police officers with the least seniority and experience.
Mayor Christopher Getty said that the lay-offs were forced on the Village by the Chicago-based FOP Union, which has demanded excessive pay increases of more than 12 percent but has rejected a reasonable increase of 4 percent made by the Village.
“We have been cutting spending across-the-board in every department. We spent more time carefully addressing the budget and excessive spending in the Police Department than any other department and have been negotiating with the Chicago-based FOP Union for nearly one year in 20 meetings,” Getty said.
“We thought we had an agreement a few months back but they flat out rejected everything.”
Getty said they wanted to increase the ceiling for police salaries from the current $88,000 to more than $101,400, calling it “unjustified and unreasonable.”
The salaries of the police officers are posted online for public viewing where they are posted every year as a part of the Village’s online transparency campaign along with other budget documents.
Getty said he knew the board’s decision for the police reorganization would face some opposition. However, out of the 200 people at Wednesday’s meeting, there was only a handful of people who expressed their concern.
“The biggest issue we are facing with the police reorganization is the unnecessary and misrepresented propaganda that is being carried out by the Union and the opposition,” said Getty.
Getty said many residents were “turned-off by the Union’s bullying and fear-mongering” which tried to falsely claim that the village will be under-protected as a result of the reorganization.
“The truth is that Lyons has been safe and will continue to be safe. Some people want to turn this into political attacks and they don’t care about safety at all. All they care about is getting more pay,” Getty said.
Getty said that four supervisors will be assuming street neighborhood patrol duties. In the event that officers report in sick, the Lyons Police will do what they always do and use overtime to make up for any staff reductions.
Getty noted that FBI staffing guidelines suggest that communities have 3 police officers for every 2,000 residents. Lyons has slightly more than 10,000 residents and Getty noted that the reorganization will keep a fully staffed police force of 16 officers patrolling Lyons neighborhoods.
“I want to also thank all of the supporters who came on Wednesday and those who continue to support our village board as we continue to make Lyons a safe and great place to live,” said Mayor Getty.