Jerome lays off police chief

Budget crunch blamed

Jerome police chief Craig Kennedy has been laid off.

Today was Kennedy’s last day on the job. He said that he wasn’t surprised when he was told last week that he would be laid off. He said it was a matter of money in the village that ceased 24/7 patrols late last year due to a cash crunch that village officials say is a matter of declining tax revenue. Kennedy said that the village barely made payroll this month.

“The finances just keep getting worse and worse and worse,” Kennedy said. “Of course, the police department is the biggest department in the village of Jerome. The only thing there was to cut was people. Since I made the most, I figured I would be the first to go.”

Kennedy had worked fulltime as a village police officer for more than a decade and was a part-time officer for five years before moving to fulltime status.

Officer Mark Estill has been appointed acting chief, according to officer Glenn Tuxhorn. Kennedy’s departure brings the number of fulltime officers to five, but one is out due to an on-the-job injury. Tuxhorn said that the department is relying on Leland Grove and the Sangamon County sheriff’s office to fill gaps in police coverage.

Mayor Mike Lopez could not be immediately reached for comment.

 Contact Bruce Rushton at brushton@illinoistimes.com.

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