Governor Pritzker has signed HB3653, the “Criminal Justice Reform Bill” .
Nobody is surprised that he would sign this legislation, but there are multiple problems with this Bill. Here are some, but not all, of the lowlights to remember:
- Officers will be mandated to wear body cams. This is something that I wholeheartedly support. However, The legislation also dictates that officers cannot view their bodycam footage before writing a report. The equivalent to this would be having a professional sports referee having instant replay available to get a call right but being told he can’t use it. The bill also creates a new crime, specifically citing that officers can be charged with a Class 3 Felony if their reports do not match their body camera video. The entire intent of this part of the bill is to make officers jobs harder, make their testimony harder and allow more offenders to be found not guilty while putting officers in a compromising situation. How many of you feel a NFL referee should face jail time for getting the wrong call ?!
- Class B and Class C misdemeanors will now be cite-only and not arrestable offenses. Someone peeping in your window while you take a shower? Here’s a ticket and the officers leave. Someone refusing to leave your property after being told to do so? Here’s a ticket and the officers leave. Someone making hundreds of obscene phone calls to you, giving you anxiety and terrorizing your life? Here’s a ticket.
- Removes the crime of obstructing a peace officer as a stand alone offense. If a police officer tells you to do something, a lawful order, you can now just say “nope” and do whatever it is that you want to do and law enforcement cannot arrest. It literally cuts police officers authority at the knees. This means, as just some examples, officers cannot control crime scenes if people want to walk through them, or order a husband to move from the doorway so officers can check on his wife after reports of her being battered.
- Allows for anonymous complaints against police and dictates that all complaints will remain part of their permanent record, whether they were found guilty or not. So, a person arrested who is found not guilty can have that arrest taken off their record, but a police officer can’t have a complaint taken off?
- It eliminates cash bail, specifically citing the presumption that all offenders will appear in court. This even applies to felonies and even serious felonies. It leaves a a requirement for the State to have to prove that an individual is dangerous to a specific person or group of people in order to be held without bond, not just dangerous to society in general, which most career criminals are.
- It prohibits using non-lethal or less-lethal weapons on an individual’s back. Remember Tasers? The device everyone always cites as the miracle tool for police being able to safely stop someone? A taser is a less-lethal device, and it is specifically designed to be fired into a person’s back to prevent permanent injury, or even death, if it is fired at the front of a person, possibly striking them in the eyes, neck, breasts, or groin. This portion effectively makes it illegal for officers to use Tasers. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.
These are just a handful of things from the almost 800 page bill. With many more laws of similar confusion in it.
If some of these things sound odd to you, it’s because they are. It’s because no professionals in the field were included in the drafting of this bill, and it’s because it was written by people who have no idea of the realities of police work. This is what happens when laws are drafted by sensationalism, and not real research and experience. And also when that law is snuck through the legislature at 4:30 in the morning, while Illinois is asleep, after it’s name is changed twice in order to shake citizens off from following it’s progress.
Remember this Bill the next time your senator or representative are up for election. Remember this bill when crime sky rockets. Remember this bill when we have less qualified and competent people wanting to get into law enforcement, and officers are retiring, resigning, or leaving the state.
Remember this Bill when you’re the victim of a crime, and don’t ask yourself “why didn’t the police do more?”
Thank you Gov. Pritzker.🤬
I’m hoping all Illinois residents will wake up soon and when election time comes up it don’t matter Republican or Democratic.
I prefer to call it the “anti-police bill,” a term that the bill’s sponsors object to. But the bill unfairly targets officers and attempts to punish them, not just make them accountable. Just one example: One provision that says officers cannot review their own body-camera video before writing a report. That is “gotcha” language. That would be like saying television reporters cannot review any video they shot before writing a story for the airwaves. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
Need more evidence? A letter from a former Illinois chief that was posted on Facebook on Friday, predicting a significant departure of officers from Illinois if the bill is signed, already has been shared more than 3,100 times and has had more than 58,000 “engagements” by social media users. That is well beyond what a reasonable person would see as a hot topic, and it demonstrates grave concern about the negative effects of this bill on their careers.
A Law Enforcement Coalition statement sums it up well: “This new law is a blatant move to punish an entire, honorable profession that will end up hurting law-abiding citizens the most.”