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posted: 5/19/2017 12:01 AM

Police chiefs urge end to budget impasse

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As police chiefs, we put the safety of our communities as our top priority. While placing dangerous criminals behind bars is part of that effort, it is not enough to win the fight against crime.

Giving our children a fighting chance at success in school -- and in life -- requires that we pay attention to strategies that really work -- and target our public resources accordingly. We've made real progress with proven investments in quality preschool, parent coaching for young moms, child care assistance for working families, after-school programs and interventions with young offenders.

None of these efforts are about social welfare. Money spent on these initiatives pay real dividends by preventing violent crime and boosting school success. That is why it's so painful to see so many of these programs on life support as the state budget impasse drags on.

I joined other law enforcement leaders recently in Springfield to discuss these issues with the governor and legislative leaders. We left the Capitol without much confidence that this impasse will end soon. That is not a pleasant prospect to consider when it comes to public safety.

I know from my years in law enforcement that children who are left behind, neglected, and not given a chance have a greater likelihood of growing up to become involved in criminal activities.

Studies repeatedly show a quality early start can change the life trajectory for a child: boosting school success, reducing criminality, increasing high school graduation rates, and reducing drug use.

We must end this cultural spiral before opportunities for job creation will make any difference. That's why Illinois law enforcement looks for our leaders to find a way to come together and pass a full-year, complete budget that supports these priorities.

James Kruger

Oak Brook

President, Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police

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