East St. Louis nightclubs and other local businesses are bankrolling extra weekend police patrols after a series of violent crimes.
Mayor Alvin Parks Jr. says the city needs more officers on the street but cannot afford them on its own.
“This is taking already existing officers and paying them to work this special detail," Parks said. "A detail that will be about six officers downtown and another two in the rest of the city where there might be late night activity.”
Parks says about 15 officers in total will be on duty Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 6 a.m. Last week, Parks lifted a 1 a.m. cut off on alcohol sales that was imposed after shootings outside two nightclubs earlier this month.
Facing dire budget constraints, the city this week laid off seven city employees, including the police department’s entire support staff.
East St. Louis has one of the highest violent crime rates in the country.