Sen. Durbin calls for support on East St. Louis security bill
By Charles Dharapak
WASHINGTON, D.C. (KMOV.com) -- U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) on Wednesday called on members of the Illinois Senate to support legislation that would strengthen local policing efforts and help improve the safety and security of East St. Louis and three nearby Metro East communities.
Durbin added that, as a member of Congress, it is extremely rare for him to advocate for the passage of state legislation – a move he does not take lightly.
“I was born and raised in East St. Louis. It pains me to see my old hometown living in daily fear. As a member of Congress, I have worked with federal agencies…to prioritize enhancing the safety of the East St. Louis area. But this problem cannot be solved by federal action alone,” wrote Durbin. “I urge the Senate to do all it can to ensure that East St. Louis and nearby communities become a safe place for families to live and work and for children to grow up. An important step in that process would be the creation of the Metro East Police District Commission.”
The legislation was introduced by Illinois State Senate Majority Leader James Clayborne. Clayborne’s proposal, which has been added by Senate amendment to House Bill 1404 and is currently pending before the Senate, would establish a Metro East Police District Commission consisting of seven members appointed by the Governor with the consent of the Senate and seven members appointed by the Metro East communities themselves. The Commission would have the authority to establish operational and ethical standards for four police departments – East St. Louis, Washington Park, Alorton and Brooklyn – and it would also be empowered to apply for and manage state and federal grants and appropriations.
Durbin also renewed his call for East St. Louis Mayor Alvin L. Parks Jr., to partner with church leaders and federal, state and local officials to reduce crime in East St. Louis by reining in the city’s club scene and stopping late night liquor sales.
Last month, Durbin was joined by Dr. Zachary Lee, Pastor of the Mount Paran Missionary Baptist Church and members of the Concerned Citizens for Safety in East St. Louis in calling on Parks to better address the incidents of violent crime in or near East St. Louis clubs.