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By Keith Turney, Field Representative - Monday, June 15, 2015

 

Police Reform Legislation

A synopsis of Senate Bill 1304

 

Not since the 1960’s have police officers throughout this country witnessed such social unrest and attacks on their dedication and integrity, not to mention their very lives.  Starting in Fergusson Missouri with the shooting death of Michael Brown, followed by the alleged chokehold death Eric Garner in New York and the retaliatory slayings of New York Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos; police officers across the country have realized they were under siege.  The culmination of these unfortunate events resulted in the indictments of six Baltimore Police Officers after the death of Freddie Grey and subsequent riots that followed. 

How we got to such a place in society is debatable.  The onslaught of social media and the twenty-four hour news cycle have been attributed to fueling the fires of social unrest.  The decaying moral fabric in America has been mentioned.  The militarization of the police has come under scrutiny.  Poverty and lack of opportunity has also been blamed.      

Whatever the cause – Police Reform was the effect.

As the 99th Illinois General Assembly started their deliberations in January, dozens and dozens of police reform bills were introduced in the House and Senate. Such were the numbers as never seen before by experienced lobbyists.  Some of the legislation could be depicted as ridiculous while some was identified as downright dangerous to police officers.  And there were demands for criminal sanctions against police officers.  Passions were high, on all sides. 

The FOP was determined to get ahead of this issue and knew that a professional and proactive approach was necessary in dealing with these reforms.  While working closely with the FOP Labor Council, Chicago Lodge 7 and Troopers Lodge 41, collaborations were put into motion with the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, the Illinois Sheriffs Association, the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board and the Police Benevolent and Protective Association.  Brought into the mix were the Illinois American Civil Liberties Union and the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, as well as many others.                      

If reform was going to occur, it needed to be reasonable and make sense.  After months of negotiations, Senator Kwame Raoul and Representative Elgie R. Sims introduced legislation that seemed to meet that balance.  As with any good negotiations, neither side was totally happy or totally disappointed.  On May 30th 2015 Senate Bill 1304 passed the House and Senate.  Its next step is to the Governor for signature. 

Only time will tell if we here in Illinois have stemmed the tide of social unrest. The full bill can be reviewed at http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/99/SB/PDF/09900SB1304lv.pdf.

 A synopsis of the bill follows.      

 

Senate Bill 1304:

Creates the Police and Community Relations Improvement Act

The Commission shall meet regularly to review the current training and certification process for law enforcement officers, review the duties of the various types of law enforcement officers, including auxiliary officers, review the standards for the issuance of badges, shields, and other police and agency identification, and examine whether law enforcement officers should be licensed.

Provides that each law enforcement agency shall have a written policy regarding the investigation of officer-involved deaths that involve a law enforcement officer employed by that law enforcement agency

Provides that each officer-involved death investigation shall be conducted by at least 2 investigators, or an entity or agency comprised of at least 2 investigators, one of whom is the lead investigator

Provides that the lead investigator shall be certified or trained as a Lead Homicide Investigator

Provides that no investigator involved in the investigation may be employed by the law enforcement agency that employs the officer involved in the officer-involved death, unless the investigator is employed by the Department of State Police and is not assigned to the same division or unit as the officer-involved in the death

Provides that if the officer-involved death being investigated involves a motor vehicle accident, at least one investigator shall be certified or trained as a Crash Reconstruction Specialist

Provides that notwithstanding these requirements, the policy for a law enforcement agency, when the officer-involved death being investigated involves a motor vehicle collision, may allow the use of an investigator who is employed by that law enforcement agency and who is certified by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board as a Crash Reconstruction Specialist

Provides for a complete report to the State's Attorney of the county in which the officer-involved death occurred

Provides that if the State's Attorney, or a designated special prosecutor, determines there is no basis to prosecute the law enforcement officer involved in the officer-involved death, or if the law enforcement officer is not otherwise charged or indicted, the investigators shall publicly release a report

Provides that compensation for investigation of an officer-involved death may be determined in an intergovernmental or interagency agreement

Provides that the Act does not prohibit any law enforcement agency from conducting an internal investigation into the officer-involved death if it does not interfere with the investigation conducted under the Act

Creates the Uniform Crime Reporting Act

Provides that the Department of State Police shall be a central repository and custodian of crime statistics for the State and shall have all the power incident thereto to carry out the purposes of the Act, including the power to demand and receive cooperation in the submission of crime statistics from all law enforcement agencies

Provides that all data and information provided to the Department under the Act must be provided in a manner and form prescribed by the Department

Provides that on annual basis, the Department shall make available compilations of crime statistics required to be reported by each law enforcement agency

Provides that beginning January 1, 2017 each month, each law enforcement agency shall submit specified information to the Department of State Police on arrest-related deaths, police discharge of firearms, crime incidents, and offenses in schools

Provides that beginning January 1, 2016, each law enforcement agency shall submit to the Department incident-based information on any criminal homicide

The data shall be provided monthly by law enforcement agencies containing information describing the victim of the homicide, the offender, the relationship between the victim and offender, any weapons used, and the circumstances of the incident

Requires the Department of State Police to annually report to the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board law enforcement agencies that are not in compliance with the reporting requirements

The Board may consider the noncompliance in making grants under the Law Enforcement Camera Grant Act

Amends the Illinois Police Training Act

Requires all law enforcement agencies to notify the Board of any final determination of willful violation by an officer of department or agency policy, official misconduct, or law, and maintenance by the Board of a database containing this information

Provides that minimum in-service training requirements, which a permanent police officer must satisfactorily complete every 3 years, shall include constitutional and proper use of law enforcement authority, procedural justice, civil rights, human rights, and cultural competency, and complete annually updates and use of force training which shall include scenario based training

Amends the Use Tax Act, the Service Use Tax Act, the Service Occupation Tax Act, and the Retailers' Occupation Tax Act

Provides that, beginning on July 1, 2015, from the proceeds received under the Acts, each month the Department of Revenue shall deposit $500,000 into the State Crime Laboratory Fund

Amends the Unified Code of Corrections

Provides that the Department of State Police shall report certain backlog information to the Governor and both houses of the General Assembly on a monthly basis (currently, the report is annual)

Amends the Counties Code

Provides procedures for appointment of a special prosecutor for a State's Attorney who is sick, absent, unable to fulfill his or her duties, or with a conflict of interest

Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code

Requires law enforcement officers who detain a pedestrian to complete a uniform stop card with information concerning the stop (Amends the Criminal Code of 2012)

Provides that upon completion of any stop involving a frisk or search, and unless impractical, impossible, or under exigent circumstances, the officer shall provide the person with a stop receipt which provides the reason for the stop and contains the officer's name and badge number.

This provision does not apply to searches or inspections for compliance with the Fish and Aquatic Life Code, the Wildlife Code, the Herptiles-Herps Act, or searches or inspections for routine security screenings at facilities or events

Prohibitions Against “Chokeholds”

Provides that a peace officer shall not use a chokehold in the performance of his or her duties, unless deadly force is justified under the Justifiable Use of Force; Exoneration Article of the Code.

Provides that a peace officer shall not use a chokehold, or any lesser contact with the throat or neck area of another in order to prevent the destruction of evidence by ingestion

Defines "chokehold" as applying any direct pressure to the throat, windpipe, or airway of another with the intent to reduce or prevent the intake of air. "Chokehold" does not include any holding involving contact with the neck that is not intended to reduce the intake of air.

Creates the Law Enforcement Officer-Worn Body Camera and Management Act

Any law enforcement agency which employs the use of officer-worn body cameras is subject to the provisions of this Act, whether or not the agency receives or has received monies from the Law Enforcement Camera Grant Fund.

Provides for the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board to create model guidelines, to be adopted as rules by law enforcement agencies using officer-worn body cameras

Provides specific requirements for recording retention, data collection and reporting

Provides legislative findings.  Defines terms.  Amends the Law Enforcement Camera Grant Act

Provides that grants may be made from the Law Enforcement Camera Grant Fund for both officer-worn body cameras and in-car video cameras (currently, only in-car video cameras).

Provides anti-sweep protection to the Law Enforcement Camera Grant Fund

Provides specific requirements for recording retention, data collection and reporting as conditions of receiving grants under the Act

Removes a provision requiring applications for grant money to be made prior to January 1, 2011

Amends the Criminal Code of 2012.

Provides an exemption from the crime of eavesdropping for the use of officer-worn body cameras and in-car video cameras where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy

Increases the additional fine assessed on convicted defendants in criminal and traffic cases to $15 (from $10), increases the portion of that additional fine going to the Law Enforcement Camera Grant Fund to $3 (from $1)

Amends the Unified Code of Corrections

Provides that beginning January 1, 2016, the Department of State Police shall quarterly report on the status of the processing of forensic biology and DNA evidence submitted to the Department of State Police Laboratory for analysis

The report shall be submitted to the Governor and the General Assembly, and shall be posted on the Department of State Police website

Provides that the Department of State Police shall obtain, implement, and maintain an Electronic Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), to efficiently and effectively track all evidence submitted for forensic testing