CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — The unrest throughout the country and central Illinois since Sunday has forced police officers to put in more time to handle looting and protests.
In Champaign, they’ve been in emergency management mode since Sunday. That mode is set to expire this afternoon, as things continue to slow down. However, department leaders say overtime from the past few days has been high.
To handle crowds, shifts were restructured. Instead of the normal 10 hours, which allow for four shifts a day with some overlap, officers have been working 12-hour shifts, with only two a day. Department leaders say that allows for more coverage.
Much like Champaign, Urbana officers have also worked more, some as long as 16-hour shifts. But department leaders say that does not happen often, and most are only 12 hours. They recognize that long shifts can take a toll on officers.
Vermilion County Sheriff’s Office Chief Investigator Captain Mike Hartshorn says they “had additional deputies working and have been able to handle the additional call volume without any issues”.
Champaign County Sheriff Dustin Heuerman says they don’t have numbers right now, but they had to call in several officers from all three divisions: corrections, law enforcement, and court security.
Leaders with the Police Training Institute encourage officers to reach out for help when they need it, but they say that’s hard for some because of the stigma around it.