A western Illinois police department in Hancock County is phasing out as the sheriff’s office takes over patrols.
Residents said this isn’t the first time it’s happened, but they believe the new plans will work.
Starting Wednesday, the Warsaw police department will close its doors and the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office will patrol the area. Residents said the city was patrolled by the office many years ago, but it wasn’t effective because of emergency response times.
It takes more than 20 minutes to get from the sheriff’s office in Carthage to Warsaw.
But to fix that issue, the sheriff’s office will be adding the police chief and another officers to its staff.
It’s a city of a little more than 1,500 but law enforcement says a lot happens in Warsaw, Illinois.
"There is a lot of activity in Warsaw," Sheriff Scott Bentzinger said. "The bridge comes right across from Iowa. We get people from Iowa and they get a lot from Illinois. It goes both ways."
The city is moving the department to part time reserve officers, meaning the police chief and another officers will work at the sheriff’s office. Residents said that’s a good thing.
"To me, I think it’s a great idea," Wayne Young said. "We will have more enforcement around and quicker access and calls."
Sheriff Scott Bentzinger said the city will save $70,000 which brings a smile to local tax payers.
"It helps the budget in Warsaw and I feel more comfortable and we will all feel safe at night," Young said.
This move will bring the number of deputies up to 11 and Sheriff Bentzinger says more work will get done on the streets.
"Makes things a little easier in any investigation and daily operations and when it moves up to cases and it goes to prosecution and work with our state’s attorney, I think it eases things as well," Bentzinger said.
Bentzinger said everyone is all in.
"Now in the Warsaw area will be able to handle everything, there won’t be any questions if they can or can’t have permission, they can take care of it," Bentzinger said.
Bentzinger said more mayors in the county are talking about making the change. He said leaders are looking outside the box to save money in difficult financial times.
The city will pay for 75% of the costs of the salary and benefits while the county covers the rest. The officers will patrol the city of Warsaw and other townships like Rocky Run, Tioga, and Montebello.