ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOULíS POLICE REFORM, CRIMINAL JUSTICE INITIATIVES PASSED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Police Reform will Create Uniformity, Promoting Professionalism, Increasing Transparency in Police Certification, Decertification Process
Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul today applauded the Illinois General Assemblyís passage of his legislation to improve the police certification and decertification process as part of his ongoing effort to advocate for policies that make lasting, systemic change to policing in Illinois. The Legislature also approved the Attorney Generalís proposals to conduct pattern-and-practice investigations of civil rights violations by law enforcement and improve services for survivors of crimes.
House Bill 3653, as amended, was sponsored by Sen. Elgie Sims and Rep. Justin Slaughter and includes Raoulís proposal that focuses on three key areas for reform: creating uniformity for officers and departments across the state, promoting professionalism in law enforcement, and increasing transparency. HB 3653 next will go to the governor for final approval.
ďThese certification reforms are the result of collaboration between my office, law enforcement, advocates and the sponsors Ė Rep. Justin Slaughter and Sen. Elgie Sims. Senator Tim Bivins began this journey years ago, and I am proud that today we have reached our destination and will be implementing meaningful reform that will promote professionalism, increase transparency and restore the publicís trust in law enforcement,Ē Raoul said. ďI applaud the tireless effort of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus to address criminal justice reform in Illinois in a comprehensive manner.Ē
Currently, the ways in which law enforcement and stateís attorneys investigate and take action in response to officer misconduct vary from department to department. Additionally, the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board (ILETSB) can de-certify an officer only in the event of a felony conviction and a limited list of misdemeanors. Raoulís measure will improve the police certification and de-certification process in Illinois by creating uniformity during the review process to allow for investigations of serious officer misconduct that may not automatically lead to decertification but still warrants a review of the officerís actions. The legislation also promotes professionalism by creating a mandatory reporting system to ensure officers are in compliance with state professionalism standards. Additionally, Raoulís measure will increase transparency by improving information sharing between hiring departments, departments and prosecutors, and the ILETSB and the public.
The General Assembly also approved Attorney General Raoulís proposal to give the Illinois Attorney Generalís office clear authority under state law to investigate and resolve patterns or practices of unconstitutional policing by local and state agencies. Raoul previously led discussions with Congressional leadership to ensure federal law gives state attorneys general authority to conduct investigations into patterns or practices of unconstitutional policing. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 was amended as a result, and the legislation was passed last year by the U.S. House of Representatives Ė but was not passed by the Senate. Raoulís proposal codifies the Illinois Attorney Generalís authority to conduct such investigations in state law.
Additionally, the Legislature passed Raoulís improvements to the stateís Crime Victim Compensation Program that would enable the Attorney Generalís office to more efficiently administer benefits in order to make resources more accessible to survivors. Modernizing the program not only will allow the Attorney Generalís office to better meet crime victimsí immediate needs, but also will contribute to breaking the cycle of community violence.
The Civil Rights Bureau enforces state and federal civil rights laws to prohibit discrimination in Illinois and advocates for legislation to strengthen those laws. Raoul encourages people who need to file a complaint to do so online or by calling the Civil Rights Hotline at 1-877-581-3692.
Attorney General Raoul encourages individuals who have been impacted by a violent crime to call his officeís Crime Victims Assistance Line at 1-800-228-3368 or visit the Attorney Generalís website.