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After dealing with COVID-19, AG Raoul turns to police licensing

Monday, Jul 6, 2020

* My Crain’s Chicago Business column

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has had a stressful few years.

He battled and then beat prostate cancer (which killed his father and his maternal grandfather) and then went on to win a contentious and sometimes bitter 2018 primary and general election for attorney general. He got married, and then his mom died in 2019.

Raoul was barely a year in office when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world. And then in mid-June, he tested positive for the virus.

I talked to Raoul on June 30, his first day back in his Chicago office. He sounded tired, but he was still mentally sharp.

He said he wasn’t as worried when he tested positive for the coronavirus as he was when he was diagnosed with cancer because the same cancer had already taken two family members. Still, he said, he did worry about passing the virus along to his family.

Raoul said tiredness was, and remains, his main symptom. When he was still quarantined in his bedroom for two weeks, in order to avoid infecting his family, even the simple act of reading a legal brief wore him out so much that he’d have to take a nap for a couple of hours. He’s moved past that now, but he’s not yet his old self.

The attorney general continued his work on police reforms throughout his home stay. George Floyd’s murder convinced him to revive his proposal from when he was in the state Senate to license police officers.

The idea came from

Click here to read the rest before commenting, please. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

25 Comments
  1. - mrp - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 9:39 am:

    It’s urgent legislation that shouldn’t sit unaddressed for months. With secure videoconferencing there needs to be more legislative action in the states and DC. To throw their hands in the air or use in-person excuses is just lack of political will and, increasingly, dereliction of duty.


  2. - Telly - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 9:56 am:

    One of the questions is how would a state licensing board interact with local police disciplinary boards. It could supplement the local board, for example, by revoking a license based on the recommendation of the local board. Or it could be a stand-alone entity that conducts it’s own investigation and makes its own decision, regardless of what a local authority does. The latter approach would be appealing to reformers who believe (with plenty of evidence) local police boards go easy on cops. But it also would create double jeopardy-like legal obstacles the courts may frown upon.

    That’s the issue that’s often overlooked by those who argue “if nail technicians need a state license, so too should cops.“ It’s a logical argument, but there are not hundreds of local investigatory and disciplinary boards that process complaints against rogue nail technicians.


  3. - allknowingmasterofraccoodom - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 10:02 am:

    Tell the unions where to stick it. Let us finally see who is in charge here - voters or union hacks.


  4. - Arock - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 10:40 am:

    Pass legislation that guts the disciplinary section of all public union contracts and replace with disciplinary language that uses common sense and allows for the quicker discipline and/or removal of the bad apples at all levels. Promote based on merit and attitude and throw seniority out the window when it comes to promotion. We don’t need racist being but into higher authority jobs just because they have more time. We need the right people in places of authority. And if you fire someone let every other policing unit in the nation know so that person is on the do not hire list.


  5. - Lowdrag - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 10:42 am:

    So the police training and standards board isn’t sufficient to govern law enforcement? The fact that officers are commissioned and sworn to uphold the law isnt good enough?
    I believe it’s just another money grab!


  6. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 10:43 am:

    I am glad that General Raoul has recovered enough to be able to continue his duties and I am thankful thank his specific experience didn’t involve more extreme medical intervention.

    Kwame’s voice is one we need today and the years ahead.

    Thanks for the thoughtful column. Here’s hoping Senator Bivins remains supportive. (From the union standpoint of unions, it’s important to remember the Sheriff is management)


  7. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 10:48 am:

    ===So the police training and standards board isn’t sufficient to govern law enforcement?===

    Obviously not.

    ===The fact that officers are commissioned and sworn to uphold the law isnt good enough?===

    Obviously not.


  8. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 10:49 am:

    ===Pass legislation that guts the disciplinary section of all public union contracts===

    Yeah, you’ll EASILY get to 60-30-1 with that language. lol

    Try moving to Reality Town. Or at least visit it.


  9. - DuPage - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 10:53 am:

    All police in Illinois already have to go through a certification process. The police officer can have their credentials revoked any time for just cause.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 10:56 am:

    === The police officer can have their credentials revoked any time for just cause.===

    Do you think there should be a national database of bad cops?


  11. - DuPage - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 11:09 am:

    Most police agencies do background checks and require recommendations, especially from former police employers.


  12. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 11:09 am:

    ===for just cause===

    Not quite.


  13. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 11:12 am:

    === Most police agencies do background checks and require recommendations, especially from former police employers.===

    No.

    That’s not what I asked.

    Do you think there should be a national database of bad cops?


  14. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 11:17 am:

    The reality of things, for me, even with the AG (Keep up the good fight with Covid, General) and his thoughts and maneuvering…

    … if you’re against a national database of bad cops AND ending choke holds, even your tepid support… for the AG here… is toothless.

    There’s no real reason both of those points can’t be, not only bipartisan, embraced by all to make policing better for all, including the good officers.


  15. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 11:20 am:

    ===So the police training and standards board isn’t sufficient to govern law enforcement? The fact that officers are commissioned and sworn to uphold the law isnt good enough?===

    Thanks to a comment like this I recently learned that the Police Training and Standards board doesn’t review a case that involves a Class 3 or Class 4 felony if the officer involved resigns. After looking at the list of things in those categories, I became quite convinced that the board isn’t good enough.


  16. - DuPage - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 11:29 am:

    For actual criminal acts,(like Mpls.) yes. For non-criminal failures to follow policy, is a grey area, leaning no. Residency requirements, for example are a violation of policy in Chicago. Other agencies have no such requirement.


  17. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 11:31 am:

    === For actual criminal acts,(like Mpls.) yes.===

    If they are fired for cause?

    That seems like a pass to help bad cops.


  18. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 11:36 am:

    === For non-criminal failures to follow policy, is a grey area, leaning no.===

    Like an “interpretation” of excessive use of force, by policy?

    That’s not really a gray area, and it may not be criminal, but if it warranted a firing…


  19. - DuPage - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 12:24 pm:

    If the cop is fired from one agency, and he applies at another agency, the reason for termination would be investigated. If they don’t check references, they are not doing their job.


  20. - Levois J - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 12:29 pm:

    I’m glad he’s back at work and sorry to admit I haven’t read this column. I just wanted to express that the Attorney General is OK and back on the job even after testing positive for coronavirus.


  21. - Flapdoodle - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 12:49 pm:

    == they are not doing their job.==

    Isn’t that pretty much the point? That the present system allows too many opportunities for people not to do their jobs? Licensing offers a strong check against that. Would you rather allow bad cops just be passed along to other jurisdictions so other people suffer? Why duck a problem when you can solve it?


  22. - DuPage - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:26 pm:

    Might be a better idea to tighten down on the certification board to investigate the class 3 and 4 felonies even if the cop resigns. Fix the problems in the existing system rather then adding an additional agency.
    On TV, I saw Lightfoot tell the president F-U and then say she wanted to fire a cop for giving the finger to rioters. Then she threatened to fire a bunch of cops for the popcorn incident. If she fired someone for that, and controlled the “licensing”, then the cop could never work as a cop again. That’s the kind of scenario that I think “licensing” could bring. If they do create it, safeguards against unjust vendetta firings being used to revoke “licenses” must be included.


  23. - Nick Name - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 3:10 pm:

    ===Tell the unions where to stick it. Let us finally see who is in charge here - voters or union hacks.===

    The police union is not all unions.


  24. - Kayak - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 4:02 pm:

    Maybe all of the police who found time to fight against CCL Permits and Cannabis Regulation can craft a bill that eliminates bad cops. They seem to have lots of time for lobbying and writing laws but not policing their own.


  25. - Pacman - Tuesday, Jul 7, 20 @ 6:52 am:

    A national data base of fired Cops would be a good thing, but some departments won’t look at it. I’m a retired LEO and former IA Investigator. I have seen Officers terminated for bad conduct. I have seen their bad conduct and terminations reported in the local news and despite all that, I have seen the bad cop rehired by neighboring small town departments. They hire them knowing about their past bad conduct because they don’t have or don’t want to spend money on sending a new officer to the academy. The Local Law Enforcement Officers Training could be the way to go if it is revamped and given a new mandate and some teeth.


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