ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — As crime heats up in Rockford and across Illinois, Republicans are calling for tougher law-and-order legislation, including imposing life prison sentences on shooting perpetrators with a record of violent crime.
Lawmakers cited the case of Carey Pettigrew, of Urbana, who was let out on parole in July before being accused of shooting a store clerk in September.
“Mr. Pettigrew was on a 31 year sentence to the Department of Corrections. He was paroled after serving just 18 years and two months later, is alleged to have shot a clerk at that Circle K after 10 months before that, robbing a different gas station in town. Those are just some examples of people walking the streets that have no business walking the streets,” said Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet).
On Wednesday, lawmakers unveiled a package of legislation intended to target violent crime.
The proposed bills would boost funding for mental health and target gun traffickers, impose longer minimum sentences for offenders, and allow counties to opt out of new state rules that restrict the use of cash bail.
The package of legislation would hire more police and purchase “equipment designed to prevent gang violence, motor vehicle theft, carjacking or sale of contraband.”
It would also require that individuals who assault police officers be required to serve 85% of their sentence, and increases sentencing to a 10 year minimum for those convicted of supplying guns to criminals.
“Downstate communities, including Champaign and Decatur, are experiencing unprecedented levels of violent crime,” said Rose. “The ‘Fund the Police Act’ will put resources where they are needed most, get qualified boots on the ground to fight violent crime, fund training and equipment programs for officers, and help tackle mental issues which are driving up crime.”
“The crime numbers coming out of Chicago and other Illinois cities speak for themselves, and we must do more to keep families safe and hold violent offenders accountable,” said Sen. John Curran (R-Downers Grove). “These legislative proposals will bring enhanced accountability for gun violence and act as an actual deterrent to committing a violent act with a gun. We must push back hard on the recent brazenness of violent crime that is endangering the citizens of our state.”
“With reports of rising crime in communities across Illinois, public safety must be a top priority,” said Sen. Brian Stewart, a retired Stephenson County Sheriff’s Sergeant. “We must end deadly delays with laws that will improve the tracking and reporting of gun crimes. We must do more to give local officials the tools they need to make our communities safer.”