Earlier this year, the Illinois legislature passed the police reform bill that would do more harm than good in the eyes of law enforcement officials. The legislature appears to have heard those concerns as it passed a new Illinois police reform bill at the end of its spring session.
In the middle of the night on January 13, 2021, the Illinois legislature passed a bill that will significantly alter the way police and other law enforcement officers operate in the state, despite strong objections from both police and citizens. HB 3653, or the SAFE-T, Act passed both the state House and Senate in just a few hours — before lawmakers could debate it, or even finish reading the whole thing.
At the time, State Sen. John Curran told CBS 2 Chicago that his office received more than 500 calls opposing the amendment since it was introduced in the legislature, particularly around a provision that will remove cash bail from the state.
“This bill will prevent their detainment, and they will be out amongst the community in a further threat to public safety,” Curran said.
The new legislation, HB 3443, is considered a piece of “trailer legislation” to the original bill and eases restrictions on the use of force, chokeholds, and tasers. It also pushes back the implementation date for new training requirements to January 1 instead of July 1.
Regarding body cameras, the new bill eliminates a provision that would have banned officers from reviewing footage while preparing a report or creating a supplemental report based on a later viewing of the video. It also gives officers more discretion when deciding whether to use force to apprehend a suspect.
The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) was one of the groups that opposed the SAFE-T Act and lobbied for the creation of follow-up legislation that took police concerns into account. In a statement, the group said it supports the trailer legislation and is happy with the progress the state is making on criminal justice reform.
“It addresses many of our serious concerns with the SAFE-T Act, and law enforcement will be much better off with these changes,” the statement from the IACP says. “We remain concerned about unresolved and unaddressed issues, but in recent months we have strengthened a process of negotiating honestly and in good faith with legislators about criminal justice reform.”
HB 3443 passed the General Assembly by a margin of 79-36, with broad support from Republicans and Democrats. It still needs to be signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
Many of the provisions in the new law take effect July 1. Changes coming for the state’s law enforcement officers include mandatory reporting to the FBI National Use of Force Database, prohibition of purchasing military-style equipment, and mandatory retention of police misconduct records.
Visit the Civic Federation for a complete listing of the new law’s changes and when they will go into effect.
National Police Support Fund will continue to advocate for police throughout Illinois and ensure that the provisions outlined in HB 3443 are upheld. Join our grassroots efforts to support police by visiting the Police Issues Action Center of Illinois.
Image Credit: Photo by Felix Koutchinski on Unsplash
Indiana lawmakers showed that it’s possible to pass common-sense bipartisan police reform that holds law enforcement accountable while also understanding the important role police play in our communities. Read about the measure that earned widespread support from Republicans and Democrats in the state’s House and Senate.