Man sues town board

Published 09/22 2012 04:29PM

Updated 09/24 2012 10:43AM

BROCTON -- A man hired a lawyer and is filing a lawsuit against his town's village board. A few months ago WCIA-3 News told you the Brocton Board shut down the village police department even after most of the town voted to keep it open.

People say that's illegal and are taking action. Bill Weber is suing the board. He says they're trampling on what he considers most sacred as an American, his right to vote.

"It finally came down to the point that something had to be done."    

Bill Weber moved here in the 90's, after spending most of his life in the military.   

"We spent our lives fighting and defending something that we believe is honest and true and then to have people who have no idea what freedom means to come in and spit in your face just because your in an official capacity. That is intolerable," Weber said.

At a meeting in July, the board decided to shut the department down for good. But the village has been without police since March 2011.

The board says, in a town with a population just over 300, there's no point in paying officers when Edgar County deputies can cover it.

"We're not talking about spending 100's of thousands of dollars a year on police protection. We got along just fine on a part time police force," Weber said.

The community filed petitions and let the board know how upset they were to lose the department. But it made no difference.

"We took it upon ourselves to do some reading and researching. That's when it was discovered about the back door referendum allowed within the Illinois voting laws," Weber said.

The law states that people can contest their elected officials actions by vote.

"These members of the board spat in our faces and claim that that referendum is not binding."

Weber filed a restraining order to keep the police department in tact and plans to take the board to court, with Brocton's mayor right behind him.

"I think a few bullies got on board and they're just gonna push their weight around until they get what they want," Mayor Dennis Cary said.

For now, if the town has an emergency, the Edgar County Sheriff's Department has to respond, which could take 20 - 30 minutes. But people in town want to know they're safe 24/7.

"We'd like the community to grow just like any other community. But if we don't keep it appealing, no one's going to want to move here," Weber said.

WCIA-3 News did reach out to all of the board members, but none wanted to comment. At a hearing Tuesday, the board agreed not to sell any police department property until the court decides the case.

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