Peoria County Sheriff Department decides between paying inmates healthcare or laying off deputies

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PEORIA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE_1545239975444.jpg.jpg

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria County is making cuts of its own due to this pandemic and its raising safety concerns for the county sheriff’s department.

Peoria County Sherriff Brian Asbell said he’s laid off 52 employees with nearly one-third being correctional officers watching over detainees. He said he also laid off 10 patrolmen and others lost their jobs at the Peoria County Courthouse.

He said not having the money to keep officers in the neighborhoods or to keep inmates healthy is the biggest issue, but he has to decide how to pay for both.

“I mean are you going to pull another officer off the street to ensure the medical health needs of the inmate population? And these are hard decisions knowing if you don’t do certain things in relation to the health care you can potentially have litigation down the road but if you don’t do it on the flip side it’s an officer safety issue and you know when I was sworn in as Sheriff I made the guys promise me I never had to do a eulogy,” he said.

Asbell said the department cuts are disrupting the detainee to officer ratio. Right now, there are forty more people detained in jail compared to people who work there.

By July, he said he will have to cut an additional 13 officers from different role.

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