MURPHYSBORO — Saying he had been researching city statutes, the Murphysboro Police Chief thinks he has found a way the city can earn $6,000 a year.

Chief Chad Roberts told the Murphysboro City Council on Tuesday night that his research had indicated the city could impose a fee of up to $20 from every arrested person who posts bail from the Jackson County Jail. The city is able to do that from Illinois Municipal Code 65 ILCS 5/1-2-12.1.

The state passed the law in 2011 and several cities currently take advantage of it, Roberts said.

Based on Roberts' estimate, the city of Murphysboro could net $6,000 a year from such fee assessments.

Roberts presented his findings to the City Council, asking aldermen to allocate the funds to the Murphysboro Police Department, to enable it to buy much-needed items.

Councilman Dan Bratton objected to the request to earmark funds for the police department, suggesting the money go to the City's General Fund and allocations for the police department be made from that. He was outvoted by fellow members, who decided 8-2 to create the Muncipal Bond Fee ordinance, allowing the money to go to the Police Department. In addition to Bratton, City Council Gary McComb objected to the specific allocation to the police department.

After the meeting, Roberts said the funds could help the Murphysboro Police Department do such things as buy a more up-to-date fingerprint scanner, valued at $12,000, and purchase evidence-management software that is more compatible with the state crime lab.

Also at the meeting, on behalf of the Murphysboro Police Department, Mayor Will Stephens presented awards to Chris Mueller State Farm Agency and State Farm Foundation and to Walmart general manager Kim Busby. State Farm awarded the police department a $42,000 grant that allowed administrators to buy new computers, putting 19 ultrabook laptops in patrol vehicles and upgrading about one-third of the desk computers, Roberts said. A cash grant from Walmart allowed the department to make additional technology updates, he said.

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Stephanie Esters is a reporter covering Murphysboro and Perry County.

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