Why we strongly oppose so-called "police reform bill" --  
continue to contact your reps and senators to oppose HB 163 and SB 1188

Updated January 9, 2021

By Ed Wojcicki, ILACP Executive Director

HB 163 SA2 and SB 1188 SA2:

Legislators introduced a 611-page police reform bill on Tuesday, January 5, and plan to consider it in the lame-duck session that began January 8 and ends January 13. A companion bill, essentially the same bill, was filed in the Senate on Friday, January 8.

ILACP President James R. Black and the Board of Officers strongly agree that the Illinois Chiefs will oppose the bills. We continue to be in communication with legislators and members of our Law Enforcement Coalition. This is one of the most anti-police bills ever drafted by the Illinois General Assembly. It is also very bad for local governments, which could be stripped of additional funds at a time when funding already is in crisis.

Supporters of this bill must believe that the police are villains and adversaries of the 12.5 million Illinoisans they are sworn to protect and serve. The truth is, most of those millions of Illinoisans are largely supportive of their local police and sheriffs' departments. So it is disappointing to see that anyone would propose legislation that is so divisive in times when we all need to come together for the betterment of our communities and our state.

The Illinois Sheriffs' Association calls it the Defund the Police Bill.

Illinois Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge President Chris Southwood said the bill is "the worst thing to happen to our profession in the history of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police and the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council. It will burn our profession to the ground, forcing it to start over from scratch -- which may be the very desire of those supporting this legislation."

Never has it been more imperative for you to contact not only your state representatives and senators, but also your mayors and managers, and tell them to oppose HB 163, SA2 and SB 1188 SA2

  • For starters, ask them to oppose the bill.

  • Also tell them it is not prudent to consider a massive reform bill in a few short days and to rush it through without thoughtful hearings and deliberation on changes that will have massive negative consequences on our communities. 

  • Please share our statement about this bill with them. It is available here as a PDF, and the full text of the statement is below. The General Assembly's deadline for action on this bill is Wednesday, January 13, and so they will be moving quickly.

Earlier this week, we sent you information about our coalition's sensible 15-point Safe Communities and Police Modernization Strategy. This would provide more accountability from police and more funding for training and community resources.It is available here as a PDF.

Coalition Statement in Opposition to the HB 163, SA2

The Coalition issued this statement on January 6, 2021:

Senate Amendment #2 to HB 163 affects every community in Illinois.  The so-called “reforms” that are part of House Bill 163 as amended would destroy law enforcement's ability to keep communities safe. The Illinois Law Enforcement Coalition with hundreds of years of combined experience recently enumerated its Safe Communities plan, a sensible approach to modernizing Illinois law enforcement, but House Bill 163 as amended would lead to unsafe communities in Illinois. The authors of this legislation are not law enforcement professionals. This bill was drafted without law enforcement input, and because of that the long-term unintended consequences of this legislation would be dire. We urge the Illinois General Assembly to avoid making a sudden, rash decision in the Lame Duck Session and instead work carefully with all stakeholders to truly examine what needs to be done regarding law enforcement in Illinois.         

Specifically, the legislation does the following:

  • Eliminates qualified immunity for police officers and expressly applies punitive unbalanced civil penalties to police officers, while denying them typical and customary protections like caps on attorney’s fees.
  • Creation of a new state law right of action against law enforcement for alleged civil rights violations that is more generous that the federal Section 1983 provisions (it includes a provision for attorney’s fees, eliminates state law and federal immunities and resets the statute of limitations)
  • Eliminates bail and basically mandates release
  • Defunds municipalities by removing funding sources and interrupting as much as 40% of the total Local Government Distributive Fund monies
  • Eliminates virtually all collective bargaining over any subject except for wages for over 50,000 law enforcement officers in the State
  • Creates mandatory one-hour access to 3 phone calls for detainees with no latitude for emergencies, which often isn’t practical in one hour, and allows outside contact by detainees prior to potential arrest of co-defendants/co-suspects who are still at large.
  • Mandates body cameras for all police departments without funding support.  Penalizes municipalities for failure to comply by withholding LGDF.
  • Allows officers to be punished for unverified, anonymous complaints.   Eliminates sworn affidavits.
  • Eliminates or change felony murder rule

  • Significantly limits use of no-knock warrants
  • Makes significant changes to Use of Force, including Total Ban on Chokeholds or action above the shoulders under ANY circumstances
  • Eliminates virtually all collective bargaining over any subject except for wages for over 50,000 law enforcement officers in the State

Law Enforcement, crime victims and the public at large will be severely harmed by this legislation. This approach to police reform lacks balance, due process and any input from professional law enforcement organizations.

Members of the Law Enforcement Coalition are:

Illinois Sheriffs' Association

Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police

Illinois Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge

Illinois FOP Labor Council

Illinois FOP Lodge 7 (Chicago)

Vote no on Senate Amendment #2 to HB 163