IL Legislators Push More Policing Measures; Will Any Pass In Election Year?


The fallout over the killing of Chicago’s Laquan McDonald and other police-involved shootings has led to a wave of proposed Illinois legislation to overhaul how police interact with the public, including measures that would require all Chicago police officers to wear body cameras and police departments throughout Illinois to rely on nonlethal force when dealing with a suspect, reports the Chicago Tribune. Other newly introduced bills would make footage from body cameras more available to the public, attempt to limit encounters with police altogether by allowing officers to give nonviolent offenders notices to appear in court instead of making an arrest and require police to maintain liability insurance.

Despite the flood of legislation, the ideas are in the early stages and likely would face many changes should they move forward at all. It’s an election year, meaning lawmakers frequently introduce bills to garner headlines as the General Assembly is loath to take up controversial issues before facing voters. Add to that the ongoing budget impasse that’s sucked most of the oxygen out of the Capitol and the hurdles only grow. The new attempts to address policing issues come after last year’s bipartisan effort that led to a new law that sets guidelines for the operation of police body cameras, prohibits the use of choke holds and requires independent investigations for officer-related deaths. Sponsors of that legislation, which took effect with the new year, say more needs to be done but cautioned against being too reactionary.

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