From Sheriff Bill Prim and the Illinois Sheriff’s Association:
“We realize the need for police reform as it is important in any profession.
“As law enforcement analyzes the nearly 800 page House Bill 3653, there are concerns.
“We want to make certain that we have a voice at the table; that every aspect within this bill is thought through thoroughly.
“We are committed to making sure our communities are safe, that our residents are safe, and our officers are safe,” Sheriff Bill Prim said.
“Accountability, transparency, training, and professionalism are imperative in our office and have been and will continue to be the cornerstone of our agency. To the residents of McHenry County, please know that your McHenry County Sheriff’s Office remains steadfast in our mission and core values, to faithfully serve the community, promoting the safety and equal protection for all.”
According to the Illinois Sheriff’s Association, the no cash bail provision makes it difficult to keep people locked up who are awaiting trial.
Without bail, many dangerous offenders will walk free within hours of their arrest.
As we join the Illinois Sheriff’s Association and other law enforcement agencies and analyze the bill that has been sent to the governor, here are some key points that we feel the public should know and be informed of.
It is vital for you to know, if the bill is passed and put into law, what this means for you, your family and your local law enforcement.
Some parts of this bill will place hindrance on what law enforcement can do for you today.
Kendall County Sheriff Dwight Baird provided scenarios on how law enforcement won’t be able to provide the current level of police services to victims for misdemeanor offenses:
“One major issue involves what law enforcement can do on behalf of victims.
“There are several offenses in the Illinois Compiled Statutes that are Class B and C misdemeanors for which we will no longer be able to make a physical arrest, unless the suspect poses an obvious threat to the community or any person (page 326 of HB 3653).
“An officer’s discretion to make an arrest is an important tool utilized every day, and I believe the vast majority of situations can be resolved without taking someone to jail.
“However, many situations benefit from an officer taking an offender into custody and restoring peace.
“Scenario #1: A person enters onto your property. You tell them to leave and they refuse. You call the police, we tell the person to leave and they again refuse. This normally constitutes trespass (Class B misdemeanor), for which we can no longer make an arrest. We issue the offender a citation and give them a court date within 21 days. If they still refuse to leave we cannot physically remove them, so instead we leave. We have taken enforcement action, but the problem is unresolved and the victim is left to live with the issue.
“Scenario #2: You begin receiving repeated phone calls from a subject, perhaps dozens or hundreds in a day. They could be immediate hang ups, harassing or lewd in nature. As mentioned in Scenario #1, once a suspect has been identified all we can do is issue a citation for Harassment by Telephone (Class B misdemeanor) and give them a court date within 21 days. While you the victim have been harassed, perhaps made to feel unsafe, and inconvenienced by having your phone overloaded with meaningless (or worse) calls, the offender has only received a citation and could potentially continue this course of action with fear of only repeated citations.
“This scenario would play out for numerous other offenses, some of which include Interference with Emergency Communications, Assault, Computer Tampering, Residential Picketing and Disorderly Conduct.
“Additionally, in HB 3653 a person can no longer be arrested for Resisting or Obstruction a peace officer, firefighter, or correctional institution employee (a Class A misdemeanor) unless the underlying offense made the person subject to custodial arrest to begin with (pages 274 & 275 of HB 3653).”
Law enforcement is concerned with parts of the bill because it prevents officers from taking immediate, potentially life-saving action in critical situations.
DuPage County State’s Attorney Bob Berlin highlights the following points from the bill:
Page 283-284: Peace Officer’s Use of Force in Making Arrest–
“In addition to a police officer being justified in using deadly force only when he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or such other person, the bill adds the following language: ‘or when he reasonably believes, based on a totality of the circumstances, both that
- Such force is necessary to prevent the arrest from being defeated by resistance or escape; the cause great bodily harm to another: and
- The person to be arrested just committed or attempted to commit a forcible felony which involves the infliction or threatened infliction of great bodily harm…’
“Consider the change in the law in the following scenario: A police officer responds to an active shooter in a school. The officer sees the suspect shooting innocent children. The officer can use deadly force to stop the shooter, but if the shooter slips out the door of the school the officer is now only justified in using deadly force if he/she reasonably believes the shooter cannot be apprehended at a later date.
“Since almost anyone can be apprehended at a later date, the officer would be required to let the shooter go. Additionally, there is no definition of ‘just’ in paragraph 2 of the bill. Does ‘Just’ mean 2 minutes? 5 minutes? 30 minutes?”
DuPage County State’s Attorney Bob Berlin also highlights what changes would occur related to bond:
“On page 370 the bill says that for forcible felonies, a person cannot be detained unless their pretrial release ‘poses a specific, real and present threat to any person or the community.’
“On page 372, in order to detain a person for a list of enumerated gun offenses, the People must allege the defendant’s pretrial release ‘poses a real and present threat to the physical safety of any specifically identifiable person or persons.’
“What is the correct standard?
“If judges are required to find that a defendant is a ‘specific, real and present threat to any person or persons,’ then a husband who murders his wife must be released because we cannot determine he poses a ‘specific, real and present threat to any person or persons,’ because his victim is dead.
“However, a husband who attempted to murder his spouse could be detained, because his victim is still alive.
“In its current form, the bill all but mandates the release of
- sex offenders,
- drunk drivers with numerous priors, and
- drug dealers, irrespective of their likelihood of reoffending; and the most important factor, the danger they pose to the general public, cannot be considered under this legislation.”
This new bill, hinders our ability to protect our community, and will become law without the governor’s veto.
Because this bill has to be passed in its entirety, we encourage you to contact the governor.
The Sheriff’s Office continues to interpret this bill with our law enforcement partners.
We will continue to share information as it progresses.
We desire to work together on reform, to do what is best for all communities and stakeholders.
Be Part Of The Change:
- Learn more about this bill, research the facts.
- Sign the change.org petition https://www.change.org/…/j-b-pritzker-governor-pritzker…
- Contact the Governor directly asking to veto this bill: https://www2.illinois.gov/…/Pages/VoiceAnOpinion.aspx
- Encourage law makers to have law enforcement at the table to discuss reform
Some information shared with permission through the Illinois Sheriff’s Association.