Illinois' governor on Wednesday proposed boosting the shrinking ranks of the Illinois State Police in an effort to quell a steady increase in gun violence spilling over from Chicago's neighborhoods onto the city's expressways, reports Reuters.
Bruce Rauner's proposed budget would add a projected 170 troopers through two cadet classes, one this year and another during the 2019 fiscal year. Seventy of these troopers would be sent to the Chicago area.
"Those officers will allow us to send more patrols to the Chicago area, to the expressways to counter the violence that has spilled over onto the highways there," the Republican governor told lawmakers in his Springfield budget address.
The number of Illinois State Police troopers has declined significantly since 2008 when there were 2,105 sworn officers, according to state police data. That number dropped by more than 400 troopers to 1,671 as of last year. Rauner took office in 2015.
Feuding between Rauner and Democrats who control the legislature has kept Illinois without a full operating budget since July 2015, which has meant no cadet hires for the state police in 2015 and 2016. A six-month fiscal 2017 budget expired on Dec. 31.