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Law Enforcement

  • Cristina Castro: Trust Act protects families (VIDEO)

    castro 050417SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Senate approved a measure today that limits local police interaction with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement actions, and rebuilds trust between police and immigrant communities. The Trust Act prohibits law enforcement agencies from engaging in immigration enforcement unless a warrant issued by a judge is presented, bans detaining a person based on their immigration status and forbids the use of any state or local resources to help create a federal registry based on race, national origin, religion or other protected classes.

    Illinois State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) released the following statements following the vote on Senate Bill 31:

    “We should be fostering safe communities where a person’s fear of hostility, or having their families torn apart, does not get in the way of public safety. A person in the shadows often will not come forward to report crimes against themselves or other people because they fear their status may be exposed. When someone’s fear gets in the way of cooperation, our communities become less safe. This legislation gives us the tools to put Illinois on the right track, keep families together and build stronger communities.”

  • Cullerton: “This one small change will eliminate unnecessary hurdles for military families who have already lost too much”

    Police Memorial 2016VILLA PARK - To assist military families State Senator Tom Cullerton’s (D-Villa Park) legislation to update the Line of Duty Compensation Act, was signed into law today.

    The Line of Duty Compensation Act provides for death benefits to be paid through the Court of Claims when law enforcement officers, firemen and military service men and women are killed in the line of duty.

    Cullerton had heard from the Attorney General’s Office about a claim filed by the wife of a U.S. Army serviceman who was killed during Operation Freedom Sentinel which is not currently included in the act.

  • Historic bipartisan accomplishments in spite of negativity

    bodycams mrWith so much attention drawn to the state’s ongoing budget impasse, historic accomplishments are too often overlooked.

    This year, lawmakers in both chambers and from both sides of the aisle did find compromise on a number of issues to improve the lives of Illinoisans and the safety, health and economic future of our state.

    Springfield’s NPR radio station, WUIS, covers developments at the Capitol. Recently, the station published an article looking past the friction to find positive achievements during the 2015 legislative session. Their story includes an interview with Charlie Wheeler, director of UIS’ Public Affairs Reporting program, and Jamey Dunn, Editor of Illinois Issues. Their analysis focused on achievements in criminal justice, including Senate Bill 1304, a comprehensive law enforcement package expected to be a model for reform across the US.

  • Landmark policing reforms become law

    hunter bodycamsSPRINGFIELD – New legislation creating law enforcement reforms was signed into law today. State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago, 3) supported the bipartisan push for officer-worn body camera protocols.

    “Law enforcement reforms help protect the safety of both officers on duty and citizens. Our communities are stronger when there is trust and practices in place to create accountability,” Hunter said.

    The proposal, Senate Bill 1304, would make Illinois one of the first states in the nation to adopt the recommendations of President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The law implements the following recommendations:

    • Requiring independent investigations of all officer-involved deaths
    • Improving mandatory officer training in areas, such as the proper use of force, cultural competency, recognizing implicit bias, interacting with persons with disabilities and assisting victims of sexual assault
    • Creating a statewide database of officers who have been dismissed due to misconduct or resigned during misconduct investigations
    • Improving data collection and reporting of officer-involved and arrest-related deaths and other serious incidents
    • Establishing a Commission on Police Professionalism to make further recommendations on the training and certification of law enforcement officers


    The measure also bans the use of chokeholds by police and expands the Traffic Stop Statistical Study –which provides insight into racial disparities in motor vehicle stops and searches—to include pedestrians whom officers “stop and frisk” or temporarily detain for questioning.

    The state is set to become the first state with standards and protocols for the use of body cameras by any of the state’s law enforcement agencies. These policies include:

    • Cameras must be turned on at all times when an officer is responding to a call for service or engaged in law enforcement activities.
    • Cameras can be turned off at the request of a crime victim or witness, or when an officer is talking with a confidential informant.
    • Recordings are exempt from FOIA with some exceptions:
    • Recordings can be “flagged” if they have evidentiary value in relation to a use of force incident, the discharge of a weapon or a death.
    • “Flagged” recordings may be disclosed in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act; however, in certain sensitive situations, such as a recording of a sexual assault, victim consent is required prior to disclosure.
    • Recordings must be retained for 90 days or, if “flagged,” for two years or until final disposition of the case in which the recording is being used as evidence.


    The law goes into effect on January 1.

  • More police training on domestic violence passes General Assembly

    bush 052516SPRINGFIELD — To equip police investigators with the most up-to-date knowledge and skills to respond to domestic violence as soon as they answer a call, the General Assembly passed a proposal sponsored by State Sen. Melinda Bush in the Senate that would provide for additional training for law enforcement.

    “By requiring more training, we’re sharpening our law enforcement officers’ ability to investigate these crimes. Domestic violence is stereotyped so often, and we need to fight preconceived notions of what an abuse situation looks like,” said Bush, D-Grayslake.

    Currently, the law recommends but does not require police departments to coordinate domestic violence response training with service organizations and develop appropriate arrest procedures. The new training under the legislation is aimed at the prevention of further victimization, focusing on looking beyond the physical evidence of domestic violence and giving officers an understanding of the deeper psychological aspects of abusive relationships.

    “Abusers need to know that our officers know what to look for,” Bush said. “When we make our investigators tougher, we make families safer.”

    The legislation is House Bill 5538, which passed the Senate Wednesday. Having passed both chambers without opposition, it must be signed by the governor to become law.

  • Raoul, Sims, Anthony announce signing of landmark law enforcement reforms (AUDIO)

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  • Raoul: New criminal justice reform laws build on data-driven, commonsense approaches

    Sen RaoulSPRINGFIELD — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) lauded  the signing of several criminal justice reform measures he sponsored this year as part of a larger push for commonsense, data-driven approaches to law enforcement, sentencing, incarceration and the reintegration of ex-offenders.

    “Illinois is again pushing forward as a pioneer of criminal justice reform – because it saves money, because it saves lives and communities and because it’s the right thing to do,” Raoul said. “These new laws on juvenile justice, expungement, access to licensed professions and sex offender registration policies will help bring the realities of criminal justice in line with its aims of genuine public safety and lasting rehabilitation.”

  • Senate Democrats make social justice reform and criminal justice reform top priority

    Senate Democrats make social justice reform and criminal justice reform top priorityThousands of police body cameras will hit the streets in the new year under major reforms sponsored by Senate Democrats in an effort to increase public accountability and confidence in the wake of scandals and unrest.

    The new law, Senate Bill 1304, takes effect Jan. 1 and sets the official parameters for the use of police body cameras, increases training and reporting requirements for officers and clarifies the public’s right to access the videos. It is one of several key criminal and social justice reforms enacted by Senate Democrats in 2015, covering everything from protecting students’ educational rights to common-sense consumer laws aiding women trying to escape domestic violence.

    “We’ve made great strides this year in defending the public’s right to be properly protected, with justice for all,” said State Senator Kwame Raoul, a Hyde Park Democrat who emerged as one of the state’s leading reform advocates.

  • Steans increases mental health training for law enforcement

    steans 013117SPRINGFIELD – Police officers in Illinois would be better prepared to respond to and de-escalate mental health crises under a new law sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago).

    “With recent funding cuts and gaps in the mental health system, officers increasingly are responding to situations that involve people with mental illness,” Steans said. “They need to be trained to recognize signs of mental illness and know how to de-escalate these interactions for the safety of those they encounter, as well as for their own protection.”

  • Trotter backs policing reform law

    trotter bodycamsSPRINGFIELD – Legislation creating law enforcement reforms was signed into law today. State Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago 17) supported the bipartisan effort to create new body camera protocols, making Illinois one the first states in the nation to adopt the recommendations of President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

    “Now, more than ever, Illinois needs to lead the country in pushing for the use of body cameras by officers. Reforming law enforcement practices will go a long way in reducing the distrust between the public and the police,” Trotter said.

    Senate Bill 1304, sponsored by Chicago Democrats Representative Elgie R. Sims, Jr. and Senator Kwame Raoul, implements several recommendations of the federal task force by:

    • Requiring independent investigations of all officer-involved deaths
    • Improving mandatory officer training in areas, such as the proper use of force, cultural competency, recognizing implicit bias, interacting with persons with disabilities and assisting victims of sexual assault
    • Creating a statewide database of officers who have been dismissed due to misconduct or resigned during misconduct investigations
    • Improving data collection and reporting of officer-involved and arrest-related deaths and other serious incidents
    • Establishing a Commission on Police Professionalism to make further recommendations on the training and certification of law enforcement officers

    The measure also bans the use of chokeholds by police and expands the Traffic Stop Statistical Study –which provides insight into racial disparities in motor vehicle stops and searches—to include pedestrians whom officers “stop and frisk” or temporarily detain for questioning.

    The state is set to become the first state with standards and protocols for the use of body cameras by any of the state’s law enforcement agencies. These policies include:

    • Cameras must be turned on at all times when an officer is responding to a call for service or engaged in law enforcement activities.
    • Cameras can be turned off at the request of a crime victim or witness, or when an officer is talking with a confidential informant.
    • Recordings are exempt from FOIA with some exceptions:
    • Recordings can be “flagged” if they have evidentiary value in relation to a use of force incident, the discharge of a weapon or a death.
    • “Flagged” recordings may be disclosed in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act; however, in certain sensitive situations, such as a recording of a sexual assault, victim consent is required prior to disclosure.
    • Recordings must be retained for 90 days or, if “flagged,” for two years or until final disposition of the case in which the recording is being used as evidence.

    The commission will be created immediately. The bill goes into effect on January 1.

  • Van Pelt advances plan to protect children during police interrogations

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