CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WICS/WCCU) — FOX Illinois and Newschannel 20 have been following the action surrounding House Bill 3653, the police and criminal justice reform bill.
That bill has now made it to the desk of Gov. JB Pritzker, D-Illinois, as of Feb. 4.
Community members and lawmakers say they want their voices heard before a final decision is made.
"An 800-page bill drops at 4 a.m. is no way to treat people who put their lives on the line," State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Champaign, said.
A new group, known as the Illinois Law Enforcement Advocacy Group, held a panel Friday morning to discuss their concerns surrounding House Bill 3653.
The discussion was in regards to police and criminal justice reforms, focusing specifically on training, funding, and lack of community voice in the bill.
"If we don't have the funding to be able to do the training, to be able to provide the equipment, to be able to give our officers the tools that they need in order to do their jobs effectively, professionally, appropriately, they're going to leave in droves," said Kris Rath, a spouse of a law enforcement official.
Some law enforcement spouses said their significant others are already looking into other options if the change occurs.
"I can assure he's not the only officer in the state that is actively researching an exit strategy," said Cari Loudenburg, another law enforcement spouse. "Losing veteran officers right and left to retirement is going to have a huge impact on the safety of our communities."
State Rep. Kam Buckner, D-Chicago, was one of the representatives who sponsored the bill to get through the lame duck sessions.
Buckner said in a statement:
"Law enforcement was at the table as the negotiations and conversations that led to HB 3653 occurred. There were things that many legislators wanted in the bill that ended up coming out based on feedback from the law enforcement community. Many of these training requirements can easily be incorporated into what departments should already be doing. Yes, extra training will cost money, but to continue operating the way we have will cost more. The City of Chicago spent over $115 million in police misconduct settlements in 2018 alone. Cities, police, and citizens are all made safer by having a robust training program. The state is currently working on the funding concerns that many municipalities have"
State Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, was also on the panel of speakers Friday.
"We have a governor who has expressed that he intends t
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