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Peoria Police Give Up Opening Locked Cars--It’s Too Tough

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From United Press International

This central Illinois town of 120,000 used to be a place where police and firefighters unlocked cars and homes for those who have lost or misplaced their keys.

No more, unless it is a real emergency.

“We used to do the unlocking of cars as a free service for citizens,” said Lt. Charles Faw of the Police Department. “But over the years, the new model cars have gotten harder and harder to unlock--unless you are a real professional.”

Faw said the city attempted to train about 10 of the Police Department’s 200 officers, but found there just wasn’t enough time to become professional at opening the many different makes and models.

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“We ended up doing more damage than good,” Faw said. “It was frustrating to us and expensive to the citizen.”

Faw said policemen unlocked about 5,000 cars a year, while the Fire Department unlocked about 80 homes. Traditionally, policemen unlocked cars and firemen unlocked homes and also rescued kittens trapped in trees.

“We’ll still perform those services in case of emergency--but only in emergencies,” Faw said. “They are not public safety oriented services.”

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