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Decatur police chief expresses frustration with increase in gun violence
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Decatur police chief expresses frustration with increase in gun violence

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Decatur police examine the scene of a fatal shooting April 8 near the intersection of Decatur Street and Haworth Avenue in Decatur.

DECATUR — Police Chief Jim Getz expressed frustration Friday with what he described as a lack of cooperation from people involved in shootings as the city encounters an increase in gun violence. 

In a statement released to media outlets, Getz said Decatur has seen an increase in gun violence since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Police are working hard to address the situation, he said, but need the community's help to do so. 

"For those who are victims and/or involved in these shootings, it is time for them, their family and friends to step up and end this culture of violence," Getz said. 

Norman Getz

NAACP Decatur Branch President Jeanelle Norman stands next to Jim Getz, who was acting police chief at the time, as he addresses the media following an officer-involved shooting in July 2016. 

Specifically, Getz referred to an incident Tuesday in which five people were shot. Police were called to the scene in the 300 block of West Leafland Avenue at 1:14 a.m. 

"Of those shot and interviewed, not a single individual shared truthful information as to what happened or who the shooters are even though they know," Getz said. "This is very frustrating and looks poorly upon our city." 

Sgt. Chris Copeland previously said the male victims, ages 18, 22, 24, 26 and 27, were wounded with injuries of varying severity. One was taken to HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield. 

Anyone with information about this incident or other gun violence can report it anonymously to Crime Stoppers at (217) 423-TIPS (8477) or the police Investigations Unit at (217) 424-2734.

Read Getz's full statement below:

The Decatur Police Department has seen an increase in gun violence since the beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic. We are not alone as many other cities in this State and other States have seen the same pattern. I have heard many times in my Police career and in my over four years as Chief of Police, “the Police do not care about these shootings” or “they need to solve these cases.” These comments are not only frustrating but lack an understanding of the truth. The men and women of the Decatur Police Department care about the safety of the people involved and in the solving of these cases, often more so than those involved. The Officers and Detectives of this Department put more time and effort into solving these cases than any other issues we deal with in this City. We will continue to vigorously work these cases, arrest those responsible and seek the most severe punishment for the most dangerous gun offenders.

In the day of Detective shows filling our television, there is a falsehood that cases are solved in 30 minutes based on forensic evidence. This makes for good tv, but in reality, this is simply not true. Cases are supported by forensic evidence but are solved by victims and witnesses sharing accurate and truthful information. In some cases, witnesses are scared to share information and we certainly understand. However, in some cases, victims do not share information because they believe in “handling it themselves” which only adds to a continuation of the problem. We all have a responsibility to speak up and to keep our community safe; however, for those citizens who may be uncomfortable in doing so, we encourage them to make an anonymous report to Crimestoppers at 423-TIPS (8477) or they can make an anonymous call to our Investigations Unit at 424-2734.

For those who are victims and/or involved in these shootings, it is time for them, their family and friends to step up and end this culture of violence. Shootings lead to death, or prison and neither should be an acceptable resolution for the people involved. Three days ago, five people were shot in a single incident. Of those shot and interviewed, not a single individual shared truthful information as to what happened or who the shooters are even though they know. This is very frustrating and looks poorly upon our City. It is time for all citizens, neighbors, friends, family members and community leaders to be part of the solution and put an end to this unacceptable behavior. It is time for courage and change for the good of our community.

Truthfully, Chief Getz


2020 mug shots from the Herald & Review

Contact Allison Petty at (217) 421-6986. Follow her on Twitter: @AllisonAPetty

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