Stephenson County Board asks Pritzker to veto criminal justice reform bill

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(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

FREEPORT, Ill. (WTVO) — The Stephenson County Board passed a resolution Thursday recommending Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker veto a criminal justice reform bill.

The board objected, 13-7, to the manner in which House Bill 3653 was passed in a middle of the night lame duck session of the General Assembly, saying “meaningful criminal justice reform requires feedback from all stakeholders”.

The comprehensive police reform plan would eliminate cash bail within 2 years; allow the use of deadly force only when an officer acts in self defense or defending others from bodily harm; makes it easier to decertify officers by eliminating signed affidavit of complaint; limits the purchase of specialized tactical (military) equipment; and mandates the use of police body cameras for all officers by 2025.

A provision which would have removed qualified immunity for individual police officers, potentially exposing them to civil lawsuits, was eliminated from the new version of the bill.

According to the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police, a total of 1,500 law enforcement officers statewide responded to a survey about the legislation, which is headed to Gov. JB Pritzker to be signed into law.

“The legislation prevents officers from taking immediate, potentially life-saving action in critical situations. Its no cash bail provision makes it difficult to keep people locked up who may be a further threat to their victims, and it places numerous mandates on police agencies with no funding source for local communities,” the FOP said in a statement.

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