Critical first responder training being canceled due to lack of funding

Today Stephenson County Sheriff David Snyders reiterated his call for the General Assembly to close the $5-million hole in law enforcement training after Gov. J.B. Pritzker did not include the funds in his budget address.

SB 3739, sponsored by Sen. Andy Manar and Sen. Brian Stewart, would provide the funds immediately. Training classes across Illinois are being canceled due to the shortfall, jeopardizing public safety.

“Training saves lives in Stephenson County. The Governor and General Assembly should provide the funding our first responders deserve so they are ready to answer the call to protect and serve,” Sheriff Snyders said. “In a budget of billions, there is room to train deputies and officers.”

The sole source of training funding for the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board (ILETSB) comes from a portion of every traffic ticket. That funding has decreased due to changing allocations, a possible decrease in citations and legislation that became effective in 2019 which allows judges to waive fee assessments on traffic convictions. In total, there is a 16 percent drop in revenue for the current fiscal year and the shortfall has accelerated during the past two months, down 36 percent and 56 percent, respectively, from the prior year’s figures.

The training that officers are expected to undergo has increased as a result of increased mandates passed by the General Assembly. In total, 11 additional training mandates have been added since 2016, while available funding to train officers has dropped precipitously.

The funding decrease has impacted local communities directly. Police academies around the state are not being reimbursed by the ILETSB for this important service.

Those academies now require local municipalities and counties to pay academy costs up front for every recruit – nearly $6,000 per officer. These additional costs, including training on the additional 11 state mandates, are draining budgets of cities, villages, and counties who are already responsible for equipment and salary of those officers.

 


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Rickie

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