SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – House and Senate Democrats announced a series of proposals Monday aimed at helping law enforcement – including mental health support, pay increases, retention incentives, retirement assistance, day care help and other benefits.
“Law enforcement is an integral part of any long-term, comprehensive plan to tackle violence,” state Rep. Dave Vella, D-Rockford said. “It’s critically important that we listen to their concerns, and work to help address their challenges. These measures are part of an ongoing effort to give our law enforcement the tools and resources they need to safely and effectively do their job.”
“Every minute of every day, police men and women work to protect us. They catch criminals, break down their networks, and ensure justice is served against those who violate law and order in our neighborhoods,” state Sen. Rachelle Crowe, D-Glen Carbon, said. “Our brave members of law enforcement show up for us, and Illinois is continuing to show up for them by creating new grant opportunities, retaining quality officers, offering investigative resources and more.”
Lawmakers were joined Monday by Jason Devino, Secretary of Trooper’s Lodge 41, Jim Kaitschuk, Executive Director of the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, Ed Wojcicki, Executive Director of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police. Introduced bills include:
HB 1568 – Police Retention and Recruitment Package (Vella)
- Creates deferred retirement option plans (DROP) for Illinois State Police officers under the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) and sheriff’s law enforcement employees under the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF).
- Lowers the retirement age for select Illinois State Police employees from 60 to 55 years of age.
- Creates the Illinois Law Enforcement Recruitment and Retention Board and an associated fund.
- Tasks the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board and the Illinois Community College Board with creating a report with recommendations to the General Assembly for establishing minimum requirements for credits that may transfer from Illinois community colleges to satisfy the requirements of law enforcement and correctional intern courses.
- Allows retiring sheriffs, investigators, security employees, and probation officers to purchase their badge and service firearm.
HB 1571 – First Responder and Shift Worker Daycare Grants (Manley)
- Creates a grant program for child care centers to provide after hours and nightly child care for the children of first responders and other workers working late shifts.
- Recognizes that finding child care is a burden on third shift workers (e.g. firefighters, paramedics, police, nurses, etc.) because most child care centers in Illinois are only open during normal work hours.
HB 1321 – Law Enforcement Mental Health (LaPointe/Hurley)
- Creates a fund and grant program to provide behavioral health services to first responders. Allows the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board to establish statewide minimum standards for mental health screenings for officers, based on statutory guidelines.
HB 3863 – Law Enforcement Funding (Morrison/Hastings)
- Creates the Law Enforcement Recruitment and Retention Fund to be used by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board to provide grants to law enforcement agencies for hiring and retention of law enforcement officers.
HB 3893 – Eavesdropping Sunset Extension (Joyce/Munoz)
- Extends the Jan. 1, 2023 sunset date for certain eavesdropping exemptions, permitting law enforcement to use a device to record a conversation during an investigation of qualified offenses, such as drug and sex offenses, for four years to Jan. 1, 2027.
- Extends the Illinois Street Gang and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Law (RICO) by one year to June 11, 2023.
HB 4228 – Sheriff Pay (Turner/Crowe)
- Adjusts sheriff’s pay to 80% of pay for state’s attorneys.
HB 4364 – Mental Health and Substance Use Prevention Funding (Cappel/Stadelman)
- Allows DHS to fund grants to offer mental health and substance use prevention to people who are incarcerated and individuals in county jails or recently discharged.
HB 4608 – Body Cameras (Bennett/Turner)
- Allows body camera grant funds to be used for data storage costs.
- Allows officers to flag video if they believe it may have evidentiary value.
- Makes clarifying changes on when an officer does not have to have a camera turned on, such as in training or only in the presence of other officers.