From WILL - News Headlines -

Lawmakers Urge UI Board of Trustees to Keep Police Training Institute

Lawmakers from Central Illinois urged the University of Illinois' Board of Trustees on Friday to keep the police training institute open on the Urbana campus.

Last fall, a faculty panel suggested closing the institute to save $900,000 annually. It has been around for more than 55 years.

Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing is part of the state's Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, which has been looking to find sustainable funding for the U of I's Police Training Institute. She said the program should stay open.

"We understand the quality, and we don't want a short-term financial difficulty to halt a program that people really depend on and have really depended on as a standard for excellence in Illinois," Prussing said.

State Rep. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) said he and other legislatures have put together a proposal to raise a fee on criminal convictions to help maintain the program.

"My goal is to not just have PTI remain in Champaign County," Rose said. "My goal is to have the best PTI in the world in Champaign County."

If the Police Training Institute does close, University of Illinois Police Chief Barbara O'Connor has said it would make more sense to have such a facility in a central location like Springfield rather than Macomb.