Springfield police union president Don Edwards is quoted as saying, "Our membership is disgusted and frankly frightened of what this will do to both their livelihoods and, equally important to them, what it will do to the criminal justice system," regarding the legislative reforms reported by Bruce Rushton ("Reform or overreach: Cop, prosecutors criticize police overhaul bill," Jan. 21). What arrogance. Such attitudes result from a sense of entitlement and a fear of accountability.

The Springfield Police Department gets 40% of the new budget for the entire city; that is where the sense of entitlement comes from. As to fear, Edwards must explain why police are "frightened" by any law. As to the criminal justice system, the need for pervasive reform does not seem controversial, except to those with entrenched conflicts of interests. Police resistance to legislative reforms is proof of the absolute necessity for continuing reforms.

Thomas E. Davis
Former assistant attorney general and assistant McLean County state's attorney

For several years, urban architect Paul O'Shea and I have strongly urged Mayor Jim Langfelder to create and fill the position of city planner. 

A recent story about moving Illinois EPA employees to the west side rather than to the downtown area might have been much different if Springfield had a professional planner ("State buys former Sears space at White Oaks," Dec. 1).

Important projects would benefit from the research, input and advice of a professional city planner. These include the construction of a new multi-modal transportation center on 10th Street, what to do with the Third Street corridor and Amtrak station after the tracks are gone, the reuse of the Illinois State Armory, the best location for a homeless shelter, the best location for a UIS presence downtown, a careful study of the proposal for District 186 to have two high schools and how to best use the vacant YWCA block on Fifth Street along with the now-vacant YMCA building on Fourth Street.

The mayor, with the city council, needs to establish and support the position of city planner.

John J. Watt

I understand Donald Trump has threatened his critics in the Senate GOP with primary challengers and would see to it that anyone who votes for conviction would also have primary challengers.

Since the senators will, in effect, be acting as jurors in determining his guilt, aren't these threats the equivalent of jury tampering, and if not that, then of obstruction of justice that he could be prosecuted for?

Gary Smith

Acknowledging President Joe Biden's initiative in plucking the brilliant young Amanda Gorman to be poet laureate at his inauguration, hearing her recitation and seeing her being interviewed following the inauguration made me wonder:  How many more Amanda Gormans are out there awaiting an opportunity to enrich our lives and enlighten our world?

Bill McGee

Last week's article, "Sangamon County beginnings," says the state of Illinois created Sangamon County on Jan. 21, 1821. Historian David Brady tells us the correct date is Jan. 30, 1821.

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