URBANA — The mayor is doing what she can to make sure the University of Illinois Police Training Institute stays in town. It’s been there for more than 60 years, but its future is up in the air. Mayor Laurel Prussing wants to get everyone in the state on her side. She says she plans to bring her own city council together to put together a resolution, talking about why they want it to stay. Then she wants to take her message to Champaign, the county board and other local leaders across the state.
The PTI was created because of a state statue back in 1955. Now it’s one of the biggest and longest-running police academies in the country. Thousands of officers have been trained there. After the announcement of another police training facility being built in Decatur, people are getting concerned about whether the UI program will get moved there.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a time that police training has been considered more important in this country than right now,” said Prussing. “I certainly want to make sure we have good community police relations. That means well-trained officers.”
Prussing says the University of Illinois is considering keeping part of the institute for research, but she says it’s also important to keep the training part intact. The new Decatur facility won’t be done until this fall or maybe next spring. No word yet on a timeline about when a decision will be made about the Urbana program.
The facility in Decatur is under construction now. The Macon County Sheriff told us they’re not sure exactly what they’ll put there. Sheriff Thomas Schneider says it could be the UI program or a separate institute, as a partnership with Western Illinois University.