Final language emerges in HB 3443 SA5; why we support it

May 31, 2021

The bill number for the trailer bill is HB 3443, SA5. To find it, click on “Full Text” and then download Senate Amendment 5.

The trailer bill to the SAFE-T Act, filed and released today on the last day of the spring legislative session, addresses many of our most egregious concerns in the law.

Therefore, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police supports the trailer bill, HB 3443 SA 5, while acknowledging a concern that the unresolved issues be addressed in a timely manner in the months to come. As a reminder to our members, in January 2021 we strongly opposed the original law, HB 3653 and urged Governor Pritzker to veto it. But he signed it on February 22, 2021, and ever since, we have been in negotiations with the sponsors, Senator Elgie Sims and Representative Justin Slaughter, on a trailer bill. Those negotiations intensified in the last three weeks. We asked the sponsors for an ability to fix language that was either ambiguous or impractical to implement, and we communicated with ILACP members regularly about our desired changes. The trailer bill language addresses most of those concerns and makes training and implementation much easier moving forward.

In deciding to support the trailer bill, we went back to our document released on March 16, 2021, when we identified our 12 major concerns with the law. We now find that most of them have been addressed and/or resolved, and because of implementation dates that come in 2022 or later, there is still time to address other big issues that have not been addressed and resolved. The Illinois State Police also support the trailer bill, and we have been told that the Illinois Sheriffs and the Fraternal Order of Police are neutral.

Thanks to all of our members who participated in our town halls and other public discussions and told us about your grave concerns with the SAFE-T Act. Your visibility and your expressions of concern to your own legislators helped to get this trailer bill moving.

It is clear from reading the trailer bill that the sponsors listened to our concerns and negotiated in good faith to clarify language in the law that would been difficult to operationalize and implement. The language in the trailer bill has put law enforcement in a much better place than the original language contained in the law now known as the SAFE-T Act.

Here are our initial thoughts about the improvements that we requested and are in the trailer bill. The statements below assume that you are generally familiar with the SAFE-T Act. A more detailed explanation will follow in the very near future. The following should not be taken as legal advice or precise legal explanations, but as our way of explaining in simple English what is in the bill.

Improvements in the law (SAFE-T Act)

  • Body cameras
    • Removes the provision that said an officer cannot view his or own video before writing a report, except under certain circumstances that would be rare and are specifically defined.
    • Removes the provision that makes it a felony to violate department policy on body cameras.
    • Improves the language (in our favor) about what would be a felony for violation of state law regard to use of body cameras. Must be intentional, willing, and a clear attempt to obstruct justice. Eliminates a felony offense for inadvertent mistakes or problems with cameras.
    • Clarifies that law enforcement agencies that are in universities, park districts, conversation districts, forest preserves, railroads, etc. (any agencies that are not municipal or county) have a mandatory date of January 1, 2025, for implementation of body cameras.
  • Use of force
    • Removes the ambiguous language about letting someone flee if they can be apprehended at a later date. The “apprehended later” idea was reinserted in a different place in the trailer bill, but in a different way that initially seems more palatable. We are continuing to review and discuss this.
    • Addresses the concern that it was unclear what an “imminent threat” might be when it comes to using deadly force, and removes the undefined idea that a serious crime must have “just” been committed. The word “just” has been removed from the law.
  • Chokeholds and tasers: Addresses the definition of chokeholds and removes the provision that says you cannot target the back with a taser.

  • Most new training requirements: Now effective January 1, 2022, instead of July 1, 2021

  • Obstructing and resisting officers: Clarifies that you can arrest someone for obstructing without an underlying offense. Separates resisting from obstructing.

Major issues deferred (some for reasons we are OK with)

  • Citations instead of custodial arrests for Class B and C misdemeanors. The sponsor understand our concerns, and we expect more negotiation before the effective date of January 1, 2023.

  • Three phone calls for person in custody. The negotiated language is improved but not part of the trailer bill. Implementation of this will be delayed until January 1, 2022, so that we can continue to discuss.

  • Decertification issues. Effective January 1, 2022, so there is time to work on the outstanding critical issues.

  • Anonymous complaints. We could not come to agreement with sponsors and advocates on modifying this issue, but allowing anonymous complaints is not effective until 2023, and so there is time.

Major issues not addressed

  • Funding for the body cameras and storage and funding for all training. Everyone knows it’s a major concern, but it is not addressed yet.
  • AG civil penalty for officers for pattern and practice violations. We believe these investigations and penalties should be directed at agencies and municipalities, not individual officers. We will continue to discuss this.


The Illinois Chiefs support the trailer bill. It addresses many of our serious concerns with the SAFE-T Act, and law enforcement will be much better off with these changes.

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 issues.

TO ILACP members: Please send your questions and concerns to [email protected].


Respectfully released at 2 p.m. Monday, May 31, 2021:

Chief Mitchell R. Davis III, President

Chief Marc Maton, 3rd Vice President and Legislative Committee Chair

Chief James R. Kruger, Jr., Past President

Lobbyist John Millner, also a Past President

Executive Director Ed Wojcicki


Respectfully released at 2 p.m. Monday, May 31, 2021:

Chief Mitchell R. Davis III, President

Chief Marc Maton, 3rd Vice President and Legislative Committee Chair

Chief James R. Kruger, Jr., Past President

Lobbyist John Millner, also a Past President

Executive Director Ed Wojcicki