SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – After listening to law enforcement on ways he could help them recruit and retain high-quality police officers, state Rep. Dave Vella, D-Rockford, passed a plan Tuesday that invests in recruiting candidates, partners with higher education and updates officer benefits to make the position more attractive.
“If we want to deal with crime effectively, we have to make sure we’re attracting excellent police candidates while making sure our best officers are appreciated,” Vella said. “Over the past few months, I have actively participated in the House Democrats’ Public Safety Working Group, and we’ve engaged law enforcement agencies to better understand how we can help. This proposal is a result of those discussions.”
Vella’s House Bill 1568:
- Creates the Illinois Law Enforcement Recruitment and Retention Board and an associated fund,
- Lowers the retirement age for select Illinois State Police employees from 60 to 55 years of age, bringing it in alignment with other law enforcement agencies,
- Creates deferred retirement option plans (DROP) for Illinois State Police troopers under the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) and sheriff’s law enforcement employees under the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF),
- Tasks the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board with providing recommendations to the General Assembly for establishing minimum requirements for credits that may transfer from Illinois colleges to satisfy the requirements of law enforcement and correctional intern courses, and
- Allows qualified retiring sheriffs, investigators, security employees and probation officers to purchase their badge and service firearm as a token of appreciation.
House Bill 1568 passed with bipartisan support.
Vella also supported measures Tuesday that focus on first responder mental health (House Bill 1321), assist with first responder daycare needs (House Bill 1571), target carjackers (House Bill 1100), protect crime witnesses (House Bill 1095) and increase the use of highway security cameras (House Bill 1103).
“Yesterday we passed a number of proposals that help target the root causes of violence and give our prosecutors and police the tools they need to address crime,” Vella said. “More work remains, and I’m focused on maintaining a conversation with law enforcement to make sure they receive the resources they need to safely and effectively do their jobs.”