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Police chiefs complain about 911 fund sweep

Friday, Apr 29, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Center Square

The budget package lawmakers approved in the early morning hours on the final day of session earlier this month creates the Statewide 9-8-8 Trust Fund. The Department of Human Services will use the fund to establish and maintain a suicide prevention and mental health crisis system.

To fund the new 9-8-8 program, the budget transfers $5 million from the Statewide 9-1-1 Fund.

The latest numbers from the Illinois Comptroller’s website shows the Statewide 9-1-1 Fund has $81.6 million and is administered by Illinois State Police.

“The sweep of $5 million was done without the knowledge of law enforcement,” the ILACP said in a statement this week. “We are in close communication with the Illinois State Police and others about this to determine what our next best steps will be to protect our 911 centers and to make sure Illinois does not suffer any consequences from the feds by sweeping 911 funds.”

Pritzker was asked about the fund sweep this week. Despite signing the budget, he wasn’t aware of the exact details.

“I can’t speak to it specifically, because I haven’t looked at that, but the 988 number that we’re establishing and we’re launching does take an enormous burden off our police, these are for mental health calls,” Pritzker said.

The police chiefs are asking the state to postpone the sweep and for lawmakers to amend that provision of the budget when they return to the state capitol after the November election.

The Statewide 9-1-1 Fund is derived from surcharges on phone bills consumers pay. The ILACP said they intended to ask the governor to line-item veto that portion of the budget, but it’s too late. Reducing the fund could make the state ineligible for federal grants at a time when next generation 9-1-1 operations ramp up, the chiefs said.

* I asked the comptroller’s office for the fund’s spending history…

State Police spending out of the Statewide 9-1-1 Fund (0612) (no other agency has spent out of this fund)

FY18 $138.7M
FY19 $205.3M
FY20 $194.4M
FY21 $192.4M
FY22 YTD $126.3M

Looks like the fund has plenty of money to handle this sweep, with more coming in.

But, everyone who has a stake in any of these special state funds will always get upset when they’re swept for any reason, even good ones.

…Adding… From the ISP…

Projected revenue amount FY 22- $197M. Projected expenditure FY 22 - $191M


  1. - Excitable Boy - Friday, Apr 29, 22 @ 11:27 am:

    The police department in my tiny hometown used to have pool cars for use by the officers that were on duty. Now every officer has a brand new car that they get to take home.

    Cry me a river.

  2. - Commisar Gritty - Friday, Apr 29, 22 @ 11:30 am:

    American police would be the third best funded army in the world, just behind the US an China. Funding is not the problem, politicians have thrown pools of cash their way for decades now. Maybe they would have more for 911 dispatch centers if they stopped buying tanks and mine sweepers.

  3. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Apr 29, 22 @ 11:49 am:

    Calling 911 for suicide prevention or due to a mental health crisis creates the likelihood that the police will show up, escalate the situation, and just shoot whoever might be an opportune target for them at the time regardless of whether or not they themselves, a family member, or a friend was calling for meaningful assistance.

    The Police have demonstrated responding to mental health crisis and suicide prevention is not something that is in their wheel house and when they kill someone that is threatening to harm themselves they don’t face meaningful consequences, so here we are again with an issue where the Police are making it all about them instead of making it about us and it’s supposed to be about us.

  4. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Apr 29, 22 @ 11:52 am:

    Find it very interesting that many different groups complain about “administrative bloat” in public education, many different groups complain about “too many units of local government” … yet none of that criticism is directed towards local law enforcement. Too many small villages / towns / cities with police departments. Center Square? Illinois Policy Institute? Bueller?

  5. - TheInvisibleMan - Friday, Apr 29, 22 @ 11:55 am:

    “Reducing the fund could make the state ineligible”

    And the Cubs could win the World Series 50 times in a row.

    could, might, may, possibly.

    Get back to me about things that are actually going to happen. I’ve already seen enough sky-is-falling personality from the police chiefs about how bad cannabis being legalized was going to be.

    I wouldn’t be surprised at this point if they came out claiming they might have to shoot some of their 911 dispatchers because of the fund sweep.

  6. - dan l - Friday, Apr 29, 22 @ 12:01 pm:

    The cow says moo. The duck says quack. And the right wing bureaucrat with a hero complex complains about about not having enough budget.

  7. - Homebody - Friday, Apr 29, 22 @ 12:11 pm:

    Police activists and lobbyists always complain when someone takes anything away, even when there is no accountability for how they use what they already get. I’m ready to just stop listening to them.

  8. - Highland IL - Friday, Apr 29, 22 @ 12:23 pm:

    911 centers in our part if the state are being consolidated. Many departments no longer have their own dispatchers.

  9. - JS Mill - Friday, Apr 29, 22 @ 12:38 pm:

    =Calling 911 for suicide prevention or due to a mental health crisis creates the likelihood that the police will show up, escalate the situation,=

    This has long been my concern. I have a child with mental health issues and worry about how my local PD when, not if, the PD are involved. I have seen them in action with students (yes, I know, i am part of the problem) who may be in distress. b They should laud the new 9-8-8 hotline not whine about it. Maybe they are worn out dealing with the Chinese drug cartels that moved in when pot became legal.

  10. - CJA - Friday, Apr 29, 22 @ 1:13 pm:

    Gonna be red meat for the “defund the police” crowd.

  11. - Gandalfx - Friday, Apr 29, 22 @ 1:26 pm:

    Largely ignored in the comments is the phrase, “Reducing the fund could make the state ineligible for federal grants at a time when next generation 9-1-1 operations ramp up.”

    That is the entire problem - the impact on federal 9-1-1 funding. The Federal Government determined long ago that if 9-1-1 funds were swept by any state for any reason, that state would be ineligible for 9-1-1 grants or matching funds.

    It took the State Police, and the 9-1-1 Advisory Board, several years to get the State to stop sweeping funds thereby impacting potential Federal grants.

    This is not a problem with the need for 9-8-8 funding. It sounds like a worthy program. The problem is the millions of Federal dollars that Illinois will no longer be eligible to receive. I hope this fund sweep gets revisited and reversed.

  12. - TheInvisibleMan - Friday, Apr 29, 22 @ 1:30 pm:

    “millions of Federal dollars that Illinois will no longer be eligible to receive.”

    And in just two hours, it went from ‘could’ to ‘will’.

    Show me the specific machinations where this loss of federal funds would happen, the exact timelines involved, and the fund balances at each stage of that process.

  13. - Lackawanna - Friday, Apr 29, 22 @ 1:37 pm:

    I’d like to interrupt the police-bashing here to remind everyone that 911 is used for fire and paramedic service, too. Ya know, the people who are called to try to save suicide victims? Which is one of the reasons why this sweep is okay with me.

  14. - thisjustinagain - Friday, Apr 29, 22 @ 1:51 pm:

    911 tech has become so expensive to set up and maintain that consolidation is the only answer in some areas. As a former 911 dispatcher, I object to mandatory consolidation under state laws; local knowledge of an area and redundancy in case of system failure or attack becomes less likely with fewer centers. The staffing issues don’t go away, as some consolidated centers have found out the hard way. And a badly run center can create issues; look up the Southwest Central Dispatch and Lake County Indiana fiascos as examples. And remember, if the situation falls apart, the mental health counselors call 911 for the cops to come if the cops aren’t already on scene. But not all departments are so well-funded to absorb losing swept funds, nor can they just keep raising taxes or tax rates to make up for it. And some do not have ready access to mental health pros on scene or via tablet/phone like the Cook County Sheriff program now being used. Lots of shade being thrown on cops without reality or facts backing it up (police involved lawful shootings are actually far lower than citizen involved lawful shootings).

  15. - Almost retired - Friday, Apr 29, 22 @ 2:34 pm:

    @CD with respect
    I strongly disagree with painting all or majority of law enforcement as incapable of dealing with mental health issues. There are a few bad tragedies that shouldn’t have happened that have been sensationalized. During my career in Mental Health I worked in the 70s in Peoria and police cared and worked with us. In Macon County the County Mental Health Board bought week long special training that over time every County and City of Decatur participated to understand mental health.These men and women cared and wanted to do right. As a mental health crises worker who has dealt with totally psychotic individuals who possessed weapons, I have been grateful that a law enforcement officer was present. It is not fair to paint all as you did. Again with respect but there should be respect for the vast majority of officers who want to do right by those who are acutely or chronically ill.

  16. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Apr 29, 22 @ 4:21 pm:

    ===- Almost retired - Friday, Apr 29, 22 @ 2:34 pm:===

    I will take data over personal anecdotes any day and I personally try very hard to be unmoved by logical fallacies, even though I sometimes employee fallacy in argument myself. You can chant “not all cops” but I don’t think the problem is all of them, but it seems pretty clear that the majority of them aren’t willing to stop the ones that are the problem and I try not to advocate for policy from feeling.

    So here’s some data from just the first page of the google search results.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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