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State Police Posts Targeted for Closure, Ashkum, Pontiac Included

SPRINGFIELD - Despite getting a budget plan from the legislature last week that contains enough money to keep all 20 Illinois State Police communications centers open, Gov. Pat Quinn is still making plans to shutter 16 of the facilities.

In an email Thursday, state police spokeswoman Monique Bond said the consolidation effort is "moving forward" as part of a cost-savings effort.

In his February budget proposal, Quinn called for the closure of the communications centers, including those in Pontiac, Ashkum, East Moline, Carmi, Ullin, Metamora and Effingham.

Calls handled at those offices would instead by routed to dispatch centers in Du Quoin, Springfield, Sterling and Des Plaines. Officials say a new statewide radio system will allow them to cover the entire state without having to keep all 20 facilities open.

Quinn has not yet taken action on the General Assembly's spending plan. Bond said state police administrators have not established a timetable for the closures.

Opponents of the consolidation say workers in the four remaining offices won't have the detailed knowledge of all regions of the state that the current employees have.

"I've been traveling the state recently and haven't found one trooper who thinks this is a good idea," said Mike Powell, president of Illinois Troopers Lodge 41.

If Quinn ignores the General Assembly and moves forward with the closures, an estimated 40 employees will be laid off.   {Pantagraph}