102nd GENERAL ASSEMBLY:  ILACP Unfinished Business

April 22, 2022

The 2022 legislative session will be remembered for its fast pace and long days. Now that it has concluded and the legislature has returned home to concentrate on the upcoming mid-term elections, we shift our focus to what still needs to be accomplished.  As with all sessions, there are some wins, losses, and ties.  While we are thankful for the recent legislation that help fund some of our many mandates and provided law enforcement with needed resources and equipment, only a couple of the bills passed directly addresses the increase in crime we have experienced over the past two years.

Why the increase in crime

The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (ILACP) has been pressing legislators to address the rise in crime.  What is fueling this wave is anonymity and a feeling of empowerment.  Crimes have increased as the likelihood for detection and accountability has evaporated. The mobility of suspects and their criminal acts along with a lack of fear of consequences has emboldened those involved in criminal activity.  For criminals, it boils down to the risk versus reward equation, or in simpler terms, “What’s going to happen if I get caught?”

Not much movement to really address crime

We proposed multiple bills this past session in effort to address this issue. Unfortunately, while there was some valuable discussion, there was not much movement on our initiatives or an appetite for penalty enhancements to hold those responsible for this spike accountable.  Our strategy should be to use laws, tactics, and technology to defeat the anonymity of crime while embracing best practices to deter crime from occurring and holding those responsible accountable.

Common-sense solutions

Our initiatives and strategies would address crimes such as vehicle thefts and car jackings. We pushed for advancements of technology such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs or Drones) and License Plate Readers (ALPRs); cleanup of the 2015 Body Camera Act, along with bills addressing the ever-increasing and dangerous crime of fleeing and eluding.  While there was attention to some of these topics, there are still many issues yet to be addressed in Springfield. 

ILACP Initiatives and Priorities for the Veto Session – most were unaddressed in the spring session

House Bill 3904 Corrects language to remove Taser from definition of lethal weapon.  (Postponed- Senate Executive Committee).

House Bill 4700 sam 1,2 (Harris-D) This budget implementation bill increases county sheriffs’ salaries and creates a statewide 988 program for suicide prevention and mental health crises.  In doing so, it sweeps $5million from E911 to 988 programs, which was unknown to law enforcement. Since its passing, we have received calls and heard concerns about how the sweeping of funds could negatively impact operations and the ability to obtain federal funds in the future.  We will be working with our law enforcement partners to address this issue. This bill passed both Houses and recently signed by the Governor; so we are seeking a remedy prior to or during the veto session.

House Bill 5452 - Support- Freedom from Drone Surveillance.  Allows for more law enforcement usage to include use over public events for real time intelligence.  The ACLU opposed portions and we continue to speak in effort to work through their objections (House Rules).  

House Bill 5533 - Support- In-Service Training Consolidation.  We would like a requirement of 40 hours every three years with ILETSB setting the priorities (House Rules).

Senate Bill 3072 - Support- Police not liable for injury or death of driver or passenger as result of fleeing in stolen vehicle (Senate Assignments).

Senate Bill 3820 - Support- “Residential burglary” would include auto theft on private property (Senate Assignments).

Senate Bill 3821 - Support- Fleeing and Eluding in Stolen Vehicle penalty enhancements (Senate Assignments).

Body Camera Act of 2015 updates - (No number assigned) Updates language to address and clarify various issues and concerns; BWC language- we would like a sunset clause on the notification requirements; clarification and modification language as to when BWCs can be turned off; clearly define “in uniform” and modify language regarding who is required to wear BWCs; funding for storage, personnel, etc.  Sen. Crowe has our language and is trying to get it incorporated into HB 4608.

Trailer Bill 3 to SAFE-T Act- Early in the session we were told there would be no trailer bill 3 to the SAFE-T Act this session. However, at the last moment SB2364 was introduced without any input from us conjuring up feelings regarding the way HB3653 was originally crafted and passed.  Ultimately the Senate adjourned and did not act upon the bill.  While the bill addressed some of our concerns it was lacking in several areas.  It is our preference to have seat at the table and address all remaining issues in one comprehensive bill versus having to keep coming back with separate pieces of legislation.

Some of the identified issues for a Trailer Bill 3 are: 

  • Taser definition (HB3904) and less lethal force to the back.
  • Custodial arrests for Class B and C misdemeanors along certain traffic violations.  (SB2364) attempted to address this concern.  Effective January 2023.
  • Bail Reform and pretrial detention.
  • Training cap and funding (HB5533)- we want 40 hours every 3 years with ILETSB setting the priorities.
  • Mental Health screenings- it should be noted that there is currently no state mandate to conduct annual mental health screenings or check-ups on officers.  With that said, we would like clarification on what meets ILETSB standards and what occurs if someone is identified as having issues.  Additionally, we would like some type of online preliminary screening tool and if needed a follow-up with mental health professional.  In effort to offset cost, we would like to do one-third of the officers in each department annually.  It has been suggested that a pilot program to work through unforeseen issues would be valuable.   On a positive note, (HB 1321) which creates the First Responder Mental Health Grant Program, passed with $10 million allocated. It is unknown how the funds will be made available.
  • Confidential vs. Anonymous complaints- We would like ILETSB and the legislature to adopt our language regarding the investigation of confidential complaints.  Anonymous complaints are difficult to investigate and inhibits our ability to follow-up with the complainant to gather additional information.  Effective January 2023.
  • Postponing the implementation date of BWCs until adequate funding for BWCs to include storage, hardware, software, and personnel are addressed.  Effective January 2023.

In closing, these are what we see as our priorities for the Fall Veto session.  As always, I want to thank you for your continued support.  We value your voice, opinions, thoughts, and insight.  WE are STRONGER together.  If there is something we forgot or that needs to be included, please contact us. 

Be safe and remember--We are the Voice of Professional Law Enforcement in Illinois!