CHAMPAIGN — Another money-saving effort that would ultimately force the police department to lock its lobby doors to the public from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. every night is imminent, a deputy police chief says.
As with the service cuts at fire station 4, officials had delayed reducing front desk staff to a skeleton crew for six months as city council members looked for new revenues to avoid cutting $140,000 in pay for employees to keep the lobby open to nighttime visitors. Council members never found a new revenue source.
"As of right now, we've been told to prepare to implement it," said Deputy Chief Troy Daniels. He said that could happen on Jan. 18.
Unlike the cuts to fire service, there does not seem to be any official negotiations happening with the union that represents front desk employees, Daniels said. Administrators simply are taking the time to prepare for the staffing change.
Among other duties, front desk staff monitor and respond to police radio traffic during the night in addition to assisting public walk-ins.