Ullin loses dispatch service - officers say they're now in more danger

Ullin loses dispatch service - officers say they're now in more danger
By: CJ Cassidy
ULLIN, Ill. - A dispute over green has some Southern Illinois police officers seeing red. The problem stems from a surcharge the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department wants Village leaders in Ullin to pay in exchange for providing dispatch services.
Most patrol officers will tell you a radio connection to the dispatch center is their lifeline. "Anytime we stop a vehicle we don't know who we're stopping," Ullin Chief Lloyd Bosecker explains.
Without that lifeline, Ullin Police say they're in dangerous territory. "Pulaski county has refused to dispatch for is while we're on the interstate and our officers are in grave danger out there. We don't know if someone's a murderer wanted or anything else," Bosecker says.
One officer says that's exactly what he discovered when he made a traffic stop on the stretch of I-57 annexed to Ullin. "We got permission to go through his vehicle and found multiple Ids with different names, different dates of births, and even different checkbooks. If we had the dispatch center in service, we would have found out a lot sooner that his ID was licensed to a woman in Texas," Officer Tim Patrick explains. "He's also possibly connected to a terrorist group," Bosecker says of the suspect.
All the same, Sheriff Randy Kern won't accept less than the eight percent he charges other departments in the county for providing dispatch services.
And State's Attorney Grayson Gile says legally Kern's in the clear. "We're not talking about dis-continuing services to officers in Ullin responding to emergencies or domestic abuse calls, or meth labs, shootings, or anything that directly applies to the welfare and safety of the people of Ullin. We're talking about individuals who choose to run I-57 and we don't see that as a clear and present danger to people of Ullin," Gile says. "If we pay out that money we're going to lose two or three officers. They're mostly part time officers," Bosecker says.
He also points out there is no separate police budget in the City of Ullin, and that's why the department depends so much on the revenue generated by tickets. On the other side, Grayson Gile says the county spends more than $125,000 to maintain the dispatch center, so it's not fair anyone to expect that service free.