Peru, Putnam County sheriff’s office receive firearms enforcement grant

Grant expected to help reduce gun violence in communities

Peru Police Department and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office were two of 32 local law enforcement agencies across Illinois that received a share of $1 million in grants from Illinois State Police to conduct firearm enforcement efforts to help keep firearms out of the hand of individuals who pose a significant threat to themselves or others.

In July, the state police offered grants to law enforcement agencies to conduct enforcement operations for individuals whose Firearm Owner Identification Card have been revoked or suspended as a result of being prohibited by state or federal law.

Police Chief Bob Pyszka said the grant money will promote Firearm Owner Identification Card compliance by paying officers’ salaries and overtime to hold subjects accountable for a suspended or revoked card.

“If you do not have a valid FOID card, you cannot go and purchase firearms legally,” Pyszka said. “I am very hopeful this (grant) will assist us, other agencies and the general public be a much safer place.”

The enforcement details are intended to focus on those individuals who pose a significant threat to themselves or others, such as those who have become the subject of a firearm restraining order or clear and present danger or received a criminal conviction, among other reasons.

“While the Illinois State Police has had great success in reducing expressway shootings in the Chicago area compared to this time last year, we continue to face a gun violence epidemic in this country and we need every possible resource at our disposal to combat it,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “These grants to local law enforcement agencies can help prevent a potential tragedy in our communities, and I want to thank agencies across the state who have signed up to help with enforcement efforts.”

ISP recently wrapped up a statewide firearms enforcement blitz that ran June 16 to July 31. ISP completed 201 details consisting of 1,742 compliance checks. As a result of these efforts, 1,027 individuals were placed into compliance by surrendering their FOID Cards, transferring all firearms out of their possession, and completing a Firearm Disposition Record.

“From 2020 through the end of August 2022, ISP stopped more than 97,000 unlawful attempts to obtain a firearm through firearm eligibility and compliance checks,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “Awarding these firearm enforcement grants to local agencies will allow ISP to have a greater impact on reducing gun violence and protecting our communities.”

Funding for the enforcement grants comes from the State Police Revocation Enforcement Fund and were made possible through Public Act 102-0237. The General Assembly appropriated $2 million for the grants and as money is accrued in the State Police Revocation Enforcement Fund, the amount the 32 law enforcement agencies receive could potentially increase.

The grants will help pay for officers to conduct enforcement details now through the end of the grant period, June 30, 2023.