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Van Pelt calls for more municipalities to dismantle their gang databases

vanpelt 022119CHICAGO – State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) is urging other municipalities to follow the Cook County Board’s lead and end the use of controversial gang databases.

“For too long, law enforcement has been using gang databases with little oversight or transparency, despite the harmful, long-lasting effects they can have on the individuals in the databases,” Van Pelt said. “I commend the Cook County Board of Commissioners for voting to dismantle their gang database and put an end to its controversial use, and I encourage other municipalities to do the same.”

The use of gang databases to track individuals labeled as suspected gang members was called into question last year after investigative reports found that hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans have been added to gang databases, 95 percent of whom are people of color.

Van Pelt first raised the issue in the legislature last spring after learning about gang databases and the lack of oversight of their use. Since then, she’s held public hearings and met with law enforcement, activists and individuals who have been negatively impacted by being listed in a database.

“I’m continuing to work on legislation at the Capitol to ensure that innocent people aren’t added to a gang database without cause and to require oversight and accountability for the use of gang databases,” Van Pelt said.

Van Pelt sponsored a resolution requiring the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority to conduct a review of the shared gang databases operating in Illinois and submit a report to the General Assembly by June 30, 2019.

Sen. Patricia Van Pelt

 Senator Patricia Van Pelt

5th Legislative District

Years Served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture; Criminal Law; Energy and Public Utilities; Public Health (Chairperson); State Government.

Biography: Born Nov. 12, 1957, in Chicago. Bachelor’s degree, Roosevelt University (1996); master’s degree, Spertus Institute (1996); doctorate, Capella University (2009); earned her CPA. Currently CEO of TARGET Area Development Corp. She has one child.

Associated Representatives:
Melissa Conyears-Ervin
Arthur Turner