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Living where you work has value

December 5, 2017 GMT

Kankakee Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstong and interim police Chief Price Dumas would like to get more police officers to live in the town they serve.

We agree. Wholeheartedly.

Police officers are great people. These men and women do a lot of good, both on and off the clock. They can be Little League coaches, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, mentors, 4H leaders, scoutmasters and more. We live at a time when catching the bad guys is not enough. We have to build up those who are changing their lives. The city will not get to where it needs to be without change.

A recent story indicated only 13 of Kankakee’s 68 police officers live in the city. That’s discouraging. In addition, a $5,000 down payment assistance offer has not convinced a single officer to move into the city. That’s depressing, too. It’s hard to convince the general public to make the move if the employees won’t.

The mayor and the police chief want to add a Resident Officer Program Enforcement. Basically, this is a plan to pay rent for an officer who commits to living in the city. Will it work better than the down payment plan? It’s certainly worth trying.

The mayor argues that police officers on the ground serve to deter crime. That’s most likely true if the officer drives a squad car home and parks it where many fellow city residents can see it.

We have every confidence the current officers conduct themselves professionally, no matter where they live. The officers always have struck us as individuals of the highest caliber.

That’s why we need them here. And if the best way to get them here is through an appeal to the pocketbook, it should be attempted.