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Police Worry About State Selling Planes

Updated: Thursday, July 10 2014, 10:48 AM CDT

Keeping tabs on crime, from the sky. Local law enforcement say aerial crafts are one of their best resources, but that could become more difficult.

"They are playing politics and it's affecting public safety," said Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp.

To help balance the state budget, Governor Pat Quinn proposed selling 9 state owned airplanes. 2 of those are from State Police.

Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettlekamp says he has called upon those airplanes recently.

"We had some career burglars here that was going around and stealing cooper wire and we utilized them, we would work on 3 midnight shifts and we were doing grid pattern searches utilizing those aircraft to cover the whole county," said Kettelkamp.

Those burglars were caught by law enforcement because they had eyes in the sky,  

Illinois State Police currently own six airplanes, but Sheriff Kettelkamp says selling 2 of them could delay response times during emergency situations like when ISP had to search for a missing toddler from Pike County who found herself lost in a cornfield.

"If you have one down for repairs or something then you cut it by 50%. Then you only have 3 left for the whole state of Illinois? That's nuts," said Sheriff Kettelkamp.

"We most definitely would need more than 6 airplanes," said State Representative Wayne Rosenthal.

Representative Rosenthal agrees the state needs to make cuts, but he suggests some of the other 12 airplanes owned by the state should be sold.

"They transport back and forth from Springfield to Chicago in a lot of cases. So that's where we have always said those are the aircraft that we don't think are necessary for state business," said Rosenthal.

Governor Pat Quinn says the state spends more than $7 million every year to operate and maintain the states aircraft fleet.

Police Worry About State Selling Planes


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