A coalition representing Illinois law enforcement leadership and rank and file officers recently issued a 15-point plan in a Safe Communities and Law Enforcement Modernization Strategy.
The law enforcement groups made this proposal not out of token fear of a loss of authority, but rather as the product of honest conversations and self-awareness of real problems that must be addressed nationwide. These are important conversations they have engaged in and we should be encouraged by their progress and should implement many of the suggestions made by this coalition consisting of the Illinois FOP, Illinois FOP Labor Council, FOP Chicago Lodge 7, Illinois Sheriff’s Association and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.
The work product of this coalition suggests keeping the focus on crime victims and ensuring their voices are heard, proposes a co-response model pilot project for incorporating mental health professionals into certain incident responses when safety allows, recognizes that there are bad law enforcement officers and nothing offends a good law enforcement officer like a bad law enforcement officer, proposes investments in mental health services, training and school resource officers and makes many other relevant and timely policy suggestions for public safety and law enforcement officer improvement.
Despite this hard work and hands outstretched toward progress, certain Progressive legislators in the Illinois General Assembly are preparing final revisions to their own proposals (House Bill 163), which go far beyond reforms supported by many law-abiding citizens and would destroy law enforcement’s ability to keep communities safe. Proposing to eliminate felony murder, recommending significant changes in the ability to arrest criminals and to keep them in custody, enacting multiple benefits for felons and eliminating funding for law enforcement agencies — all serve to stimulate public sentiment against law enforcement and create a tenuous situation for those out there protecting us, who simply want to make it home safely at the end of their shifts. These proposals by “Defund the Police” reformers simply increase costs and too-often treat alleged criminals better than the victims as well as the law enforcement officers sworn to protect and serve the public. The coalition will continue to work on solutions to improve community safety and enhance trust between community members and law enforcement.