ARCOLA, Ill. (WCIA) — Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza paid a visit to Arcola on Friday to help the town improve its safety.
Mendoza delivered to the city’s police department and Mayor Jesus Garza a pair of police vehicles from the Chicago suburb of Melrose Park. She was joined by Melrose Park Mayor Ronald Serpico.
Mendoza had previously visited with Garza after a Chicago Tribune article told his unlikely path from immigrant beginnings to becoming mayor of Arcola. During that visit, she promised to help him and the town however she could.
When Garza mentioned that brighter street lights in downtown Arcola could help deter crime, Mendoza connected him with Ameren President Richard Mark, who had his crews install new streetlights.
When Garza mentioned that his small police department could use an additional squad car, Mendoza started looking for one.
“They only have a very small police force and they don’t have a lot of vehicles, they have four vehicles for the police department,” Mendoza said. “If they had an extra vehicle, that might help be able to bring another police officer onto the streets.”
Mendoza’s search led her to call Serpico to see if he had any squad cars the town was decommissioning. He didn’t have just one; he had two.
“She only told me once, but I remembered,” Serpico said. “We’ve been friends for 20 years. She was kind enough to walk the precincts of Melrose Park with me during my first mayoral campaign and I’ve never forgotten her generosity. The people of Melrose Park are happy to help the people of Arcola.”
Garza said he and his officers were very happy with the 2009 Ford Expedition and 2013 Ford Taurus they received.
“We’re so happy to have these police cars,” Garza said. “The goal is to keep everybody safe, make sure there’s no vandalism. We work together on that. Getting these lights, these cars, are all helping with that.”
Mendoza hopes that the two additional squad cars in Arcola will be able to make a difference in the community.