The Wabash County Board of Commissioners has requested Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker veto a bill sitting on his desk that would widely reform how law enforcement operates through the state.
The board met for their first February regular session Monday afternoon, approving a resolution that calls for Pritzker to veto House Bill 3653, which would, amongst other things, eliminate cash bail for those awaiting trial throughout the state, require every police department to purchase and use body cams through an incentives program toward grants and other means of state funding and limit the circumstances through which law enforcement officers are able to use force. As stated in the county resolution, Wabash County joins the Illinois Chief’s Association, Illinois Sheriff’s Association, Illinois States Attorney’s Association, Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association and Fraternal Order of Police “in expressing disappointment over the passage of this bill during a lame duck legislative session in the early morning hours of Jan. 13.”
Wabash County States Attorney Kelli Storckman noted to the board that, along with fellow prosecutors throughout Illinois, her office is opposed to the new legislation.
“I spent the last couple of weeks getting acquainted with House Bill 3653, which we’re all anticipating to become the law in the state of Illinois,” said Storckman. “For your information, there are 102 states attorney’s in the state of Illinois. 100 of us, out of the 102 are opposed to House Bill 3653.
“That should tell you something.”
Storckman included in the resolution several items from the bill with which the county might take issue. Those items included the:
*elimination of cash bail.
*allowance of anonymous and unsworn complaint against law enforcement officers to the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board.
*addition of restrictions on the Wabash County Sheriff’s Department’s ability to obtain equipment.
*addition of conflicting/confusing language regarding when a law enforcement officer may lawfully engage in the use of force, which may result in increased injuries of law enforcement officers.
*prohibiting of law enforcement officers from reviewing body camera footage prior to writing incident reports
*creation of numerous unfunded mandates on Illinois municipalities.
“I’ve tried to summarize a little bit of the highlights of things it does that are not good for law enforcement and for my office as well,” Storckman explained. “But I just wanted to offer my support in your consideration of that resolution.”
Wabash County Board Chairman Tim Hocking weighed in on the transformative legislation as well.
“The house bill, it looks to be making your job very, very difficult,” Hocking addressed Wabash County Sheriff Derek Morgan. “The states attorney’s job as well. It will restrict some bond money coming in.
“It has a lot of effects on a lot of different areas of the operation.”
Hocking went on to express his thoughts on those operational changes, both at a local and state level.
“I think it’s not good for downstate Illinois,” he stated. “I don’t know where it was beneficial.”
The board voted unanimously to pass the resolution.