Prosecutor: East St. Louis police understaffed

August 6, 2012

Associated Press

The top federal prosecutor in southern Illinois says East St. Louis doesn't have nearly enough police officers.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton says the city needs as many as 173 officers, based on its crime rate. East St. Louis currently has 44 officers, and about half of the past decade's 300 homicides remain unsolved.

Wigginton pointed to an effort called Save Our Streets, which is bringing a surge of federal law enforcement agents to East St. Louis. He says the program is funded for 90 days and has already made an impact in its first 30 days — including arrests in the kidnapping and torture of an 18-year-old man who was lured to an East St. Louis home.