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Democratic public safety legislation coverage roundup

Tuesday, Apr 5, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Tribune

A group of Democratic state legislators made another anti-crime pitch Monday with measures aimed at showing support for law enforcement and countering the Republican narrative that their party’s policies are facilitating an uptick in violence.

The legislators who laid out a plan at a news conference in Springfield were mostly from the more moderate wing of the Democratic Party, which has found itself somewhat at odds with progressives in the effort to come up with a winning formula for anti-crime legislation.

The legislators offered plans to give police officers greater incentives to stay on the job at a time when police forces across the country are seeing an exodus of cops, and to increase funding for officer wellness programs. It’s unclear how much money the Democrats are seeking for that — but they said the current state budget includes $5 million for addressing the mental health of cops and firefighters.

“We have to look at comprehensive ways to support law enforcement and to make sure that we can really bust through those barriers that have prevented first responders from accessing the desperately needed mental health support that they need,” said state Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, who is considered part of the Democratic progressive wing but whose Northwest Side district of Chicago includes many cops and firefighters.

* Dot points…

Lawmakers were joined Monday by Jason Devino, Secretary of Trooper’s Lodge 41, Jim Kaitschuk, Executive Director of the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, Ed Wojcicki, Executive Director of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police. Introduced bills include:

HB 1568 – Police Retention and Recruitment Package (Vella)

    - Creates deferred retirement option plans (DROP) for Illinois State Police officers under the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) and sheriff’s law enforcement employees under the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF).
    - Lowers the retirement age for select Illinois State Police employees from 60 to 55 years of age.
    - Creates the Illinois Law Enforcement Recruitment and Retention Board and an associated fund.
    - Tasks the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board and the Illinois Community College Board with creating a report with recommendations to the General Assembly for establishing minimum requirements for credits that may transfer from Illinois community colleges to satisfy the requirements of law enforcement and correctional intern courses.
    - Allows retiring sheriffs, investigators, security employees, and probation officers to purchase their badge and service firearm.

HB 1571 – First Responder and Shift Worker Daycare Grants (Manley)

    - Creates a grant program for child care centers to provide after hours and nightly child care for the children of first responders and other workers working late shifts.
    - Recognizes that finding child care is a burden on third shift workers (e.g. firefighters, paramedics, police, nurses, etc.) because most child care centers in Illinois are only open during normal work hours.

HB 1321 – Law Enforcement Mental Health (LaPointe/Hurley)

    - Creates a fund and grant program to provide behavioral health services to first responders. Allows the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board to establish statewide minimum standards for mental health screenings for officers, based on statutory guidelines.

HB 3863 – Law Enforcement Funding (Morrison/Hastings)

    - Creates the Law Enforcement Recruitment and Retention Fund to be used by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board to provide grants to law enforcement agencies for hiring and retention of law enforcement officers.

HB 3893 – Eavesdropping Sunset Extension (Joyce/Munoz)

    - Extends the Jan. 1, 2023 sunset date for certain eavesdropping exemptions, permitting law enforcement to use a device to record a conversation during an investigation of qualified offenses, such as drug and sex offenses, for four years to Jan. 1, 2027.
    - Extends the Illinois Street Gang and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Law (RICO) by one year to June 11, 2023.

HB 4228 – Sheriff Pay (Turner/Crowe)

    - Adjusts sheriff’s pay to 80% of pay for state’s attorneys.

HB 4364 – Mental Health and Substance Use Prevention Funding (Cappel/Stadelman)

    - Allows DHS to fund grants to offer mental health and substance use prevention to people who are incarcerated and individuals in county jails or recently discharged.

HB 4608 – Body Cameras (Bennett/Turner)

    - Allows body camera grant funds to be used for data storage costs.
    - Allows officers to flag video if they believe it may have evidentiary value.
    - Makes clarifying changes on when an officer does not have to have a camera turned on, such as in training or only in the presence of other officers.

* Capitol News Illinois

While opposed to the SAFE-T Act, the law enforcement groups previously worked with lawmakers on two trailer bills that softened use-of-force guidelines and pushed back implementation dates of decertification standards among other changes.

[Illinois Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Jim Kaitschuk], after the news conference, told Capitol News Illinois he viewed the measures proposed Monday as separate from the SAFE-T Act, and declined to directly answer whether he believed they would counteract any real or perceived negative effects on officer recruitment that resulted from the 2021 criminal justice reform.

“This wasn’t about the SAFE-T Act,” he said after Monday’s news conference. “This was about efforts to recruit and retain. And this has been a – it hasn’t been just one thing that caused the issues in terms of recruitment and retention. Back in the 90s, we had a lot of federal funding that came to hire officers, those officers – one, the funding went away, and two, those officers are obviously, they’re my age, so they’re retirement age, so they’ve moved on to other careers and retired.”

The measures laid out Monday are a message from lawmakers “that we do care about law enforcement,” Kaitschuk said, making recruitment and retainment easier.

* AP

With four days left in the spring session, this is the second crime-reduction package to come from Democrats in four days. The first focused on support services for victims. Monday’s measures aim to support police communities that complained they were demonized 15 months ago when the Black Caucus-led policing overhaul was signed into law. Known as the -T Act, the overhaul came amid a spate of police-involved shootings in Chicago and nationwide.

SAFE-T set standards for police use of force, set a schedule to require all police to wear body cameras, eliminated cash bail for criminal suspects and more.

Presenters at the Democrats’ state Capitol news conference Monday were overwhelmingly white. Rockford Democratic Rep. Dave Vella said members of the Black Caucus were meeting on other issues but had worked on and endorsed the package. He rebuffed a question about whether the the plan is an “antidote” to ease the discomfort police feel about SAFE-T.

“This isn’t an antidote to anything,” Vella said. “This is us trying to make the streets safer and get more police on the street. That’s it.”

* The Deputy House Majority Leader and co-chair of the public safety working group matter of factly pushed back against criticism yesterday…


* Richard Irvin campaign…

As election season is in full swing and the legislative session comes to an end, Illinois Democrats are scrambling to come up with “crime proposals” to combat their record of siding with criminals over police, rather than proposals to actually combat crime.

One proposal unveiled yesterday would give officers “incentives” to stay on the job as law enforcement agencies across the state are seeing a wave of resignations and retirements after the SAFE-T Act became law. The incentives dangled by Democrats include day care grants and allowing police officers to buy their badge after they retire.

Absent from the Democrats’ package was the biggest incentive law enforcement needs right now: any proposal to repeal the dangerous and misguided provisions of the SAFE-T Act, including abolishing cash bail, allowing anonymous complaints against police officers, and dangerous changes to electronic monitoring rules that enabled accused criminals to commit more crimes.

Just last week, a new report uncovered dozens of criminals have reoffended, from armed robbery to murder, after a new provision of SAFE-T Act took effect in January that allows criminals on home confinement 48 hours of unmonitored movement to roam freely.

“Our law enforcement agencies across the state are struggling with low morale and depleted work forces because they don’t feel supported by our state’s leadership, and no amount of ‘incentives’ can erase those sentiments,” said Irvin for Illinois campaign spokesperson Eleni Demertzis. “Our men and women who wear the badge deserve our full support, and that starts with repealing the dangerous policies in the SAFE-T Act.”

* Leader Durkin…

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin offered the following statement after Illinois Democrats introduced legislation that attempts to distract from the disastrous effects of the SAFE-T Act.

“Democrats in Illinois have repeatedly attacked our police and justice system. Today, they are trying to rewrite history. Until they wake up and repeal their pro-criminal SAFE-T Act, there will be no safe communities in Illinois.”

       

35 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 9:55 am:

    === House Republican Leader Jim Durkin offered the following statement after Illinois Democrats introduced legislation that attempts to distract from the disastrous effects of the SAFE-T Act.

    “Democrats in Illinois have repeatedly attacked our police and justice system. Today, they are trying to rewrite history. Until they wake up and repeal their pro-criminal SAFE-T Act, there will be no safe communities in Illinois.”===

    I guess I’ll put Durkin down as “red” on this package.

    It’ll be interesting if the pushback on the GOP will be like voting against ethics bills that “don’t go far enough”, and these HGOP members face…

    “It’s too bad ‘member x’ is soft on crime, voting against…”

    We’ll see.


  2. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:03 am:

    I’m always torn by any legislative effort that suggests cops are “better” or deserve better benefits than other people, especially other public employees. There are teachers and social workers that have done more to prevent crime than police officers, and our DOC certainly fails at addressing recidivism.

    If we want real police reform we need to stop treating civil police forces like some kind of elite citizen more deserving of anything or everything, especially when we’re at a point where every officer I know well enough to opine to me is blaming some mythical issue were States attorneys are to blame for any and every failure of their police work. We know the policies of the 1990s are failures. Creating policies that mimic those will also be failures.

    Is there any meaningful evidence that shows striking police egos or giving them better benefits has any correlation — I’ll accept correlation, you don’t even need to prove causation actually results in a reduction of crime?

    Over the years we have seen horrific things done by police officers and police forces in our name and when we ask them to stop, they throw tantrums.

    It should be exciting when Irvin’s comments as a defense attorney on police and police conduct start coming out.


  3. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:06 am:

    =“Democrats in Illinois have repeatedly attacked our police and justice system. Today, they are trying to rewrite history.=

    I guess the democrats aren’t the only ones trying to rewrite history.

    Leader Durkin, remember that little tourist kerfuffle at the capital? Chris Miller was there. Now tell me how democrats have “attacked” police when ILGOP members actually were parked at the capital (with a 3% sticker on their window no less) and he is still a member of the caucus.

    The hyperbole is sickening from Durki and Irvin.


  4. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:13 am:

    If the bills come for a vote and the ILGOP is red, the tables will be turned on their crime platform. They will be “anti-police” so to speak. Definitely support more funding and grants to help law enforcement and first responders. Those are tough jobs. Those doing them should have a great economic safety net.


  5. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:14 am:

    Teachers and social workers are better crime fighters than Police officers?

    Should we all call them first if we have an issue with violent crime?

    Candy how are reforms succeeding at lowering violent crime or is evaluating that off the table?


  6. - low level - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:14 am:

    Too little too late. The image of Dems being “soft on crime” has already been implanted in suburban voters’ minds. This should have been done months ago.

    *Gotta say I love the response to Hillman by the Deputy House Leader. Thats awesome.


  7. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:17 am:

    ===how are reforms succeeding at lowering violent crime or is evaluating that off the table?===

    Good question. Wanna also provide data showing that traditional policing has dramatically reduced crime during the past two years?


  8. - DuPage - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:18 am:

    Tier2 = big cause of shortage of new recruits in Illinois.


  9. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:20 am:

    ==I’m always torn by any legislative effort that suggests cops are “better” or deserve better benefits than other people, especially other public employees.==

    The same holds true with the paid COVID time for vaccinated teachers. Only giving that to Vaccinated Teachers and school staff only while giving nothing to Vaccinated State Employees.


  10. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:20 am:

    ===The image of Dems being “soft on crime” has already been implanted in suburban voters’ minds===

    Again, it’s not the 1990s and the choice is; do I vote for the bigots trying to strip rights from other human beings or the folks trying to stop police officers from beating and killing people with impunity”

    I get that the GOP is making a message box, but get a load of those coup supporting bigots that want to criminalize love and basic human rights.


  11. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:22 am:

    “Until they wake up and repeal their pro-criminal SAFE-T Act, there will be no safe communities in Illinois.”

    Is this meant as a way for Durkin to subtly stab at Irvins claims of reducing crime in Aurora? If there are no safe communities in Illinois, Irvin can’t claim to have made Aurora a safe community.

    I know it’s not though, and the fault is on my end. I’ve made the mistake of taking anything Durkin says seriously. I should be thankful Durkin continues to loudly remind me he isn’t there to be serious, and he should be treated accordingly.


  12. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:24 am:

    1. Teachers and social workers prevent crimes.
    2. They also report crimes that would otherwise go 7ndetected


  13. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:25 am:

    ===Too little too late. The image of Dems being “soft on crime” has already been implanted in suburban voters’ minds. This should have been done months ago.===

    This is the correct, tasty, take to the raw politics. The messaging here by ALL Dems, in Illinois specifically, missed so much, and not just the Safe-T misses too.

    My point? Dems are gonna need some pushback, and if the wrong nominee is minted in June, here in Illinois, my hope for the HGOP is they can ensure that any blowback to soften any “soft on crime” take is thought out and not easily dismissing that it’s a slam dunk. We’ll see.


  14. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:26 am:

    ==1. Teachers and social workers prevent crimes.==

    And IIRC they’re required to report signs of suspected or possible cases of child abuse too.


  15. - Amalia - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:31 am:

    All Democrats need to work together on crime and safety and recognize that it’s not just about that one bill, though that is a focus. there’s much to correct of an image that seems to worry more about those who violate laws. This summer whatever happens in Chicago will be the backdrop to the general election across the state. Work in every way to prevent violence.


  16. - Pundent - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:33 am:

    =Candy how are reforms succeeding at lowering violent crime or is evaluating that off the table?=

    I guess you miss this tidbit. Don’t worry, Irvin and Durkin seemed to as well.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/republican-controlled-states-have-higher-murder-rates-than-democratic-ones-study-212137750.html


  17. - SWSider - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:35 am:

    Again, I’m not sure seceding ground to the GOP and conceding that we have a crime problem that needs to be addressed legislatively is the sure fire winner the Democrats seem to think it will be.

    In fact, I’m quite sure it’s the opposite.


  18. - Boomer remover - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:37 am:

    You can finger point every which way but at the end of the day the crime rates are soaring under the dems watch, nobody elses and its been under tier watch fir years,even decades here. As some here like to say ” Governors OWN”… So own it.


  19. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:40 am:

    ===even decades here===

    You’re not a serious commenter to this, if you’d like to add some data, including Republican governors Edgar, Ryan, and Rauner, since governors own.

    Your mind is made up, no data even you come up with will change things.


  20. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:41 am:

    So, the “back the blue” and anti-crime folks are not happy at the prospect of Democrats backing police and reducing crime? Nooo, lol. Just like the Illinois doom peddlers don’t like fiscal improvement for the same reason.


  21. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:41 am:

    ===Just last week, a new report uncovered dozens of criminals have reoffended, from armed robbery to murder, after a new provision of SAFE-T Act took effect in January that allows criminals on home confinement 48 hours of unmonitored movement to roam freely.===

    An interesting from Irvin’s press release; he is saying that someone charged with a crime is guilty (he uses the term “criminal”) before they go to trial. Some defense attorney. This response contradicts his response to the DGA ads.


  22. - very old soil - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:41 am:

    Republican politicians routinely claim that cities run by Democrats have been experiencing crime waves caused by failed governance, but a new study shows murder rates are actually higher in states and cities controlled by Republicans.

    https://news.yahoo.com/republican-controlled-states-have-higher-murder-rates-than-democratic-ones-study-212137750.html


  23. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:46 am:

    ===a new report uncovered dozens of criminals===

    24 out of 2400.


  24. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:48 am:

    ===24===

    TWO dozens is “dozens”… (sigh)


  25. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:48 am:

    ==Teachers and social workers are better crime fighters than Police officers? Should we all call them first if we have an issue with violent crime?==

    Yes, the data is excellent on this. Education reduces crime and recidivism. Police come in after the fact and, hopefully, catch the bad guys and lock them up; the hope is that the threat of punishment discourages future crimes. The efforts of teachers and social workers prevent crimes from occurring.

    If you want to reduce crime, step 1 is to have a robust education and social work system.


  26. - Cool Papa Bell - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:50 am:

    =Kaitschuk said, making recruitment and retainment easier.=

    Cops leave their jobs at times because they can’t do it the “old way”.

    If anyone really thinks that cops need more money, or help paying for day care go look state salaries for ISP. Search out how much your municipal cops make. They are paid very, very well. They have amazing union benefits, they get to use all their sick days and vacation days with no questions ask (private sector person here).

    We are paying them fine, they are protected to the ninth degree, retainment is an issue because we haven’t started to really bring in cops who understand how they are expected to treat people and protect and serve.


  27. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 10:59 am:

    ==The image of Dems being “soft on crime” has already been implanted in suburban voters’ minds==

    Yes, for decades now. But taking public action on crime can mitigate the problem.


  28. - Disappointed Female Suburban - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 11:07 am:

    Pensions, the Illinois Democrats go to strategy.


  29. - Jocko - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 11:28 am:

    ==Teachers and social workers are better crime fighters than Police officers?==

    In addition to being mandated reporters, I suspect they’re more likely to ‘call out’ a colleague acting inappropriately. They also don’t have the benefit of qualified immunity, so they show restraint when interacting with the community.


  30. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 11:32 am:

    =but get a load of those coup supporting bigots that want to criminalize love and basic human rights.=

    …mic drop.


  31. - MisterJayEm - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 11:44 am:

    “Teachers and social workers are better crime fighters than Police officers? Should we all call them first if we have an issue with violent crime?”

    Shall we see how effective calling the cops is?

    From the Sun-Times:

    Chicago Police Supt. David Brown has touted the increased number of murders considered “cleared”: 400 in 2021, the most in 19 years, Brown says. Based on the official CPD tally of 797 homicides last year, that’s a clearance rate of just over 50%.

    But 199 of those cases were closed “exceptionally,” which means no one was charged. And one in seven cleared cases involved a murder committed more than 10 years ago.

    In all, CPD actually made arrests in fewer murder cases than in 2020, when 209 people were charged.

    Police arrested and charged someone for less than one out of four homicides committed in Chicago in 2021.

    – MrJM

    Note: ((400 ‘cleared’ cases - 199 cleared without charges) - (7 cleared but more than 10 years old)) / 797 homicides in 2021 = 24.3%

    Note 2: CPD’s clearance rate for 2021 homicides is actually even lower than 24.3% because that clearance rate includes homicides that took place between 2011-2020.


  32. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 12:18 pm:

    ===Teachers and social workers are better crime fighters than Police officers?===

    Do you want to prevent crime or do you want to fight crime?

    If police funding and police jobs depend on their ability to “fight crime” it would seem that their economic interests would require that there be more crime to justify increases in pay, benefits, and other funding. The police do not exist to prevent crime and neither does the Department of Corrections and as we continue to live in a world with cell phone video that can’t be tampered with like dash cameras and recording devices that police have consistently tampered with over the years I suspect we will continue to find many instances where people in uniform commit crimes. If it weren’t for this blog I never would have discovered that police officers can remain police officers so long as they resign before they’re indicted or convicted of a class 3 or class 4 felony and that most police misconduct related charges, including lying under oath and plating evidence, well, those are class 3 or class 4 felonies.

    Entry level to policing in Illinois is still remarkably low. If you think the answer to crime prevention is to hire more marginally educated and entitled mostly white men, give them guns, give them fast cars, and give them impunity to harass and assault members of our community, then I think you must have a different idea of what crime is.

    I think crime prevention in a modern democracy isn’t something that is going to be as Putinesque as our current approach is and that makes a lot of sense because the origins of our current approach was a system to intimidate, harass, and oppress people of color and we just started assigning other duties to those organizations intended to suppress members of our society without really revisiting why those organizations existed in the first place and wondering if maybe the people who ignored or facilitated lynch mobs are the best corner stone for building a civil police force on or for enacting a Justice system on, or to prevent crime.

    A high school graduate with a fast car, a gun, and the belief that they’re able to do what they want because they’re in a uniform seems like a recipe for more crime in my book. Maybe it’s different in yours, but maybe you have the ability to just ignore the state sponsored terror that is frequently metered out by our police forces when they attack people in their own home without cause because they’re too incompetent to actually investigate a crime or even go to the right address.


  33. - here we go - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 12:33 pm:

    So the party that won’t criticize the January 6th riots that injured 160 Capitol police officers claims to have the edge on crime? The same party that voted against the American Rescue Plan that invested in local police officers? Come on, Dems, you should own this issue.


  34. - Amalia - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 1:03 pm:

    Completely tired of the argument that the best/first solution to crime is jobs, education etc. The problem is a both and thing. we should be doing those things. And when crime happens, we need to find the bad guys and give them consequences, yes, including incarceration as punishment for violent crimes. (Incarceration keeps violent people away from others. ) Map out violent crime. Victims are disproportionately located in poor neighborhoods, and are black and brown folks. we have a mass victimization problem in those neighborhoods. Address it in all ways.


  35. - SWIL_Voter - Tuesday, Apr 5, 22 @ 1:12 pm:

    We incarcerate more of our own people than any country on the planet. We’ve been doing the one for decades. People are bringing up education because we’ve been underfunding those for decades.


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