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SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Willie Preston (D-Chicago) released the following statement regarding new legislation to diversify the state’s pool of law enforcement officers by prohibiting the use of credit history in hiring decisions:

“An applicant's poor credit history should not preclude that person from becoming a police officer. If we want to address the decrease in officers applying and diversify our law enforcement, we have to remove these outdated, classist policies.

“Senate Bill 2608 would prohibit police departments across Illinois from denying employment and promotions based on someone’s credit. Looking at the Chicago Police Department alone, data shows that only 20% of the force is Black.

“This legislation comes in direct response to conversations I’ve had with constituents. I made a promise to the people of the Sweet 16th District that I would field their concerns and take them to Springfield. It’s so important that we remove unnecessary barriers that were put in place a long time ago that bar many of our community members from joining the police department.

“I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues and community stakeholders to advance Senate Bill 2608 during the spring legislative session.”