bennett lawenforcement 040422SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) and his colleagues joined police advocates Monday to unveil a legislative package aimed at supporting law enforcement officers and improving the state’s criminal justice system.

“Our law enforcement officials work tirelessly 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to keep our communities safe,” Bennett said. “That’s why my colleagues and I are working together to create grant opportunities and keep quality officers in the workforce to help those fighting for our communities.”

To help promote fair compensation across the state, House Bill 4228 requires a county sheriffs’ salary to equal at least 80% of the county’s state’s attorney’s salary. House Bill 3863 creates the Law Enforcement Recruitment and Retention Fund to support departments through the hiring and training processes and help retention strategies.

Body cameras are critical for keeping officers safe as well as improving evidence quality and reducing liability for agencies. House Bill 4608 allows for video retention for evidentiary value and allows grant funds to be used for data storage costs.

In an effort to improve the correctional system and reduce recidivism, House Bill 4364 creates the Fund Mental Health and Substance Use Prevention Fund to allow the Department of Human Services to offer grants and programs in county jails for incarcerated individuals or people who have been recently discharged.

House Bill 3893 extends a sunset date to allow investigators to continue recording conversations for qualified sex and drug offenses from Jan. 1, 2023 to Jan. 1, 2027.

“As a former prosecutor, I worked closely with law enforcement officers to present and defend the work of the police in court,” Bennett said. “In my experience, I have found that recruitment, hiring and retention of the best law enforcement officers is key for a safe and thriving community.” 

Bennett joined the Illinois Sheriff’s Association, the Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois State Police to express support for the package at Monday’s press conference. He plans to work with his colleagues in the Senate to advance the package before the scheduled April 8 adjournment.