PEORIA – Following the Illinois Senate’s passage of a criminal justice reform package, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) issued the following statement:

“Given the devastating events that took place over the past year and decades prior, police accountability measures are absolutely necessary to bridge our current divide.

“This piece of legislation is the culmination of months of public hearings, hundreds of hours of testimony and negotiations with law enforcement, experts in law enforcement and criminal justice reform public policy, and residents throughout the state. Their input was implemented in this legislation, and I believe we came to a solution that is good for everyone.

“After reading the initial proposal and consulting with law enforcement leaders, I knew there would need to be several changes before I could support it. I asked for the sponsor to take out the removal of qualified immunity, penalties for local governments in the event that they did not provide body cameras for officers, and the removal of collective bargaining rights. Through a great deal of time and effort, we convinced the sponsors to remove these items that would have put our law enforcement officers at risk. 

“As far as ‘defunding the police’ goes, this legislation does nothing to remove funding from departments. Instead, it provides additional funding opportunities for departments who try to purchase and implement body cameras by specified deadlines.

“Of course, no one piece of legislation is perfect, and I expect there to be additional changes. In this case, the legislation does not take effect immediately, which will allow time for review and necessary tweaks to take place. I have spent my entire career supporting law enforcement officials and can assure you I would never vote for something that impaired their ability to properly serve our communities.”

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Springfield Office:
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Springfield, IL 62706
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Peoria, IL 61603
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