EAST CAPE GIRARDEAU, IL (KFVS) - The community of East Cape Girardeau has recently started its own police department. Local officials say they need it because of increased crime rates.
Officer William Gibson currently works part-time as the East Cape Girardeau police officer.
"Sometimes [I work] during the day, sometimes during the night, sometimes early morning," Gibson said.
However, by next month, he will be on patrol full-time.
"You've always got something going on around here," Gibson said. "You've either got a lot of traffic, a lot of stuff to do with alcohol, DUIs, and every now and then you have a fight or something at Lonestar, or just some kind of disturbance around here."
Locals say an East Cape Girardeau police officer is needed.
"There is so much crime going on," Clyde Holman said."It could be cut down a lot just somebody patrolling the place."
Others say not only have crime rates been on the rise, but Larry Smith said the Alexander County Sheriff Department also can't respond fast enough.
"We need a little protection over here," Larry Smith said, "If you call Cairo down there it takes them a while to get over here."
Some people blame businesses like The Pony and Lonestar for the influx in crime, but Smith disagreed.
"As far as The Pony up there," Smith said. "I don't see where any of the problems are coming from The Pony."
Regardless of the reason, Assistant Mayor Brian Winans said a change must be made.
"We are trying to get traffic slowed down," Winans said. "We are trying to get crime rates to go down."
He said the plan to pay Officer Gibson full-time comes at no cost to citizens.
"We know beyond a shadow of a doubt we've got the right officer for the job," Winans said. "We are working on a three in one grant. What that is, is the first three years of this grant would be taken care of by the state."
People in town say they already feel safer. Winans said that's the goal.
"We want everyone to feel safe and knows there's good things to come. We are working on some very positive things for the future," Winans said.
City officials tell me they plan to vote Officer Gibson into his fill-time position by the beginning of May.