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Police Respond To Criminal Reform

Police Respond To Criminal Reform

Law enforcement groups have decried the Monday signing of a massive criminal justice reform bill into law by Gov. JB Pritzker, referring to the legislation as anti-police with provisions that will lead to unintended consequences.

House Bill 3653, referred to as the “Safe-T Act,” ends the use of cash bail by 2023 and grants increased state oversight of police agencies statewide, among other provisions. Law enforcement and Republican lawmakers opposed the legislation, citing problematic language in some provisions, while maintaining support for the law’s intent. “We support police accountability, certification measures, robust training, and the use of body worn cameras,” Crystal Lake Police Chief James Black, who serves as president of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, said in a statement released Monday. “We agree with the reform concepts contained in this bill.”

Supporters of the bill, including its chief sponsors and Attorney General Kwame Raoul, have admitted the need for trailer bills to rectify issues in the act’s language, but they have characterized that as a normal part of the legislative process. State Sen. Elgie Sims and state Rep. Justin Slaughter, the Chicago Democrats behind much of the legislation, have said they encourage the participation of law enforcement in bill negotiations.

The ILACP, the Illinois Sheriff’s Association, the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police, the FOP Labor Council and FOP Chicago Lodge 7 released a joint statement as the Illinois Law Enforcement Coalition on Monday calling the law a “blatant move to punish an entire, honorable profession.” Saying, “Please don't let us measure its dismal failure by the shattered lives it produces. We urge all citizens to remember who supported this law, and keep that in mind the next time they look to the police in Illinois for the protection they can no longer provide,” the statement reads.

The Sheriff’s Association created and posted an infographic, shared by the ILACP and other law enforcement groups, that claimed the new law would prevent officers from arresting active school shooters “even though he just shot people moments ago.”&n