police drone

SPRINGFIELD — As members of communities that have been devastated by mass shootings, State Senators Julie Morrison and Linda Holmes are proud that their legislation encouraging law enforcement to use drones to enhance public safety at large outdoor gatherings has become law. 

“As we enter parade and festival season, it’s more pertinent than ever that law enforcement are equipped with the most  modern tools and training to keep communities safe,” said Morrison (D-Lake Forest). “It’s simple: drones will save lives. We can’t let another community feel the sheer terror and heartbreak that Highland Park still feels a year later. Today we’ve taken a positive and commonsense step toward a safer Illinois.”

Senator Morrison and her family were some of the hundreds of people in the Highland Park community who ran for their lives as a gunman opened fire on the town from a rooftop during a Fourth of July parade nearly a year ago. Seven people were killed and 48 were injured by the sniper. Following this tragedy, Morrison began work on legislation to prioritize public safety at large events to prevent further senseless loss of life due to gun violence.

Senator Holmes also had a situation that hit close to home. In 2019, a mass shooter killed 5 people and injured 6 at the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora, Illinois, which Holmes represents. After this shooting, Holmes and local law enforcement researched the effectiveness of drones in supporting law enforcement in other states, and how drone use could protect Illinois communities.

The two tragedies led Morrison and Holmes to work in tandem with their local police departments to enhance public safety for future events. Together, they passed House Bill 3902, which allows law enforcement to use drones to monitor special events, like parades and festivals, to detect breaches and identify public safety issues.

“This may be one of the most important bills I’ve worked on in my Senate career because it can make a difference in how law enforcement and first responders can gather information and take lifesaving actions swiftly,” said Holmes (D-Aurora). “Our communities deserve to feel safer as people go about their lives.”

House Bill 3902 takes effect immediately.