DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) - As Decatur police Chief Jim Getz approaches his last day on the force, his message stands clear, change needs to happen now.
“Our legislators need to get off their butts and pass legislation to hold these people accountable," he said.
Illinois State Sen. Doris Turner said she’s concerned.
“The violence that we have seen increase among our youth and young adults, it's really troubling," Turner said.
Illinois State Rep. Dan Caulkins said he’s on the same page.
“I'm really disappointed and actually it makes me very unhappy, I mean I'm mad about it," Caulkins said.
But, Getz says the legislators aren’t doing anything.
"These politicians need to step up and do something about gun violence. Not one on either side, Democratic or Republican, no one's passing legislation to hold these people accountable,” Getz said.
Turner told WAND News she’s doing her part in the community. Her main push is the building of community partnerships.
“I am trying to work with those community-based organizations. We need to work with law-enforcement and build those partnerships, really try to get in and show everyone how important it is to work together in order to address these issues," Turner said.
She said community-based organizations are doing the work in the community that creates the change she wants to see.
"I'm out in the community and encouraging these partnerships, but I'm also getting resources and funding in the door of those organizations that are doing that work,” Turner said.
Caulkins said he's also putting in the work.
"We have introduced bills that enhance penalties for crimes that are committed with a gun," Caulkins said. "We have introduced bills that enhanced penalties for felons caught with a gun.”
However, Caulkins said the key to master is support for law enforcement.
"Gun violence has a lot to do with the lack of respect that these criminals have for law enforcement,” Caulkins said.
Turner is keeping strong in her stance. She said it’s all about valuable partnerships within the community.
“It has to be a community partnership with law enforcement and elected officials," she said.
Both Turner and Caulkins want to be a part of the change, but said they need continued community support.
As for Chief Getz, he’s hoping the change comes sooner rather than later.
"It’s frustrating as I get ready to retire that gun violence is no better than it was 2 to 3 years ago. I would argue that it's worse.” Getz said.
Turner and Caulkins said they will rise to Springfield and do the work the community wants to see.
Do you like this page?