Police Wanted in Ina

Police Wanted in Ina
By: Holly Brantley

INA, Ill. - The southern Illinois city of Ina has a lot to offer, but one thing it can't provide is a police presence.
That could be about to change.  Ina could have a police officer for the first time in the town's history in the next few days.

Mayor Andy Hutchens says the town could have an officer in just a week, but some feel the board's already passed up a big opportunity.
According to residents and Board Member David McCulley, a few crimes have caught the attention of the town recently.  City leaders say they are working to solve the problem, but a recent vote of the city board has some citizens questioning that.
The vote would have made a partnership with the nearby city of Bonnie and allowed Ina to share Bonnie's police force.  Mayor Andy Hutchens was the deciding vote.  He voted it down.
"I didn't think it gave enough to Ina," said Hutchens. "People who are upset didn't understand all the details of the agreement."
"Nothing against Bonnie," said McCulley. "We just didn't want to go that route."
The vote upset people like Bryce Heard.  Heard put a sign in his store window asking Mayor Hutchens to resign.
"He's not listening to what the people want," Heard said.
"They're making it sound like we don't want a police force and that's not true," said McCulley.
McCulley says the issue is nearly resolved.  He says the board is in the process of acquiring a police officer.  He showed Heartland News a new Ford Escape they purchased for the officer to drive.
"If everything checks out with the Sheriff's Department, we are good to go," said McCulley.   
People like Heard remain skeptical. "If they have an officer, I hope he's qualified.  He needs to be able to arrest people and take them directly to jail," said Heard.