Union: Lyons to cut police force by one-third

April 10, 2014 (LYONS, Ill.)

The Lyons village manager declined to comment on those layoffs, which the union says will eliminate the detective division and leave just one or two officers on duty for some shifts.

On Thursday night, the ABC7 I-Team obtained the letter that the police union says the village sent to officers, citing "budgetary contraints" as the reason for the layoffs.

"It's disappointing. It's frightening. They're claiming financial reasons dictate this decision. Today we have not seen any evidence of that," said Tamara Cummings, Illinois Fraternal Order of Police.

The Fraternal Order of police says at least seven Lyons police officers are on the chopping block out of the department's 23. The potential cuts leave 16 officers for this community of 10,000 residents.

"It makes me a little nervous. I have a family. I have a home that I want to be protected," said Christine Gass, Lyons resident.

"The detective division has been closed. Some other, the truck enforcement division has been terminated. So not just shortages on the streets, some of the major crime investigation units are no longer going to be functioning," said Cummings.

The moves comes months after the village and union began negotiating a new police contract and less than a week after the village announced the retirement of Police Chief Harley Schinker, who served in the post for four years.

The department is being run in the interim by former Oak Brook police chief and now-Lyons Village Manager Tom Sheahan, who declined to comment on the layoffs, saying only: "We've had our last, best contract offer on the table since March 26th and received no response from the union."

"The village was seeking very drastic concessions in both pay and benefits and the measures were so draconian, we weren't able to come to a resolution," said Cummings.

Last November, the Lyons village board voted to cut the police budget by a million dollars, or about 20-percent. At the time, village officials said any cuts moving forward would not be at the expense of public safety.

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