East St. Louis officials say the layoffs could have been avoided if the city's union workers would have accepted furlough days.
The layoffs now leave about 30 police officers to patrol an area that has a high murder rate.
"Now, when we make a phone call, if someone is in another area, we may not get a response, but too long of a time for people to really feel safe," said Rosalind Ralleigh.
"We hope they'll come to the table at that point, and let's discuss some solutions and let's see if we can bring everybody back to work," said Mayor Alvin Parks.
The union reportedly will protest the layoffs and plans to take steps to get the jobs back.