* From the unusual coalition of the Illinois NAACP and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police …
State legislation regarding the use of body-worn cameras by police officers in Illinois has been a priority for both of our organizations this spring. In April of this year the NAACP and the ILACP met to discuss our mutual concerns, and body cameras emerged as a top mutual priority.
We are pleased to see this initiative advance in the Illinois General Assembly in Springfield this week, and we believe it is significant that our two organizations are making this statement of support together. We are committed to seeking and demanding transparency and accountability in law enforcement. Body cameras will help show the public that most police officers are engaged in constitutional policing, and they will help identify officers who abuse their authority or commit misconduct.
We are pleased that the legislation moving through the General Assembly adopts many recommendations from the U.S. Department of Justice, the National Police Executive Research Forum, the International and Illinois associations of chiefs of police, and the NAACP Legislative Agenda. It does not require every officer to wear a body camera. That could be prohibitively expensive in some communities. At the same time, this legislation makes grants available so that more police departments can purchase body cameras and it provides reasonable guidelines for their use. It will take some time for police departments to acquire the cameras and provide training for their use. Also, it will take some time for all citizens to understand the rules about when the cameras are turned on and when the cameras can be turned off.
We plan to work together to educate the public about the use of body cameras and other initiatives that will help build mutual trust. We all want to make our communities safer and the best way to accomplish that is for us to work together.
In the meantime, we continue to review other proposed police reforms in SB1304 and we thank Senator Kwame Raoul and Representative Elgie Sims and other supporters.
* And from the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law…
Senate Bill 1547, now on its way to the Governor, creates a necessary protection to survivors of domestic violence and individuals with disabilities in Illinois. It will prevent local governments from enacting or enforcing ordinances that punish tenants for calling 911 in response to domestic or sexual violence, or for crimes committed against them. The bill is a response to local ordinances that treat police calls as “nuisances”—sending a victim-blaming message to survivors of domestic violence and discouraging them from seeking help. No one should fear losing their home because they call the police to protect themselves.
The language of SB 1547 is a result of negotiations with local governments, property owners, law enforcement organizations, and advocates throughout the State. It strikes a critical balance between the needs of cities to address public safety concerns and the needs of tenants and landlords to be free from the dangerous impact of ordinances that impose penalties based on 911 calls. As a result, SB 1547 was voted unanimously out of both chambers and has the support of over 80 organizations, including the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, ACLU of Illinois, Illinois State’s Attorney, Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, Illinois Association of Realtors, Access Living, and Illinois Attorney General’s Office.
We thank Senator Toi Hutchinson and Representative Anthony DeLuca for their leadership in moving this important bill through the General Assembly and we urge Governor Rauner to sign it into law as soon as possible.