In order for us to thrive as a community, we need to feel safe where we live. Getting our police officers the resources they need and passing legislation that makes it easier for them to address increasing crime are two of my top priorities in Springfield. Which is why I supported a budget that provided millions of dollars for law enforcement recruitment and training. Including hiring 300 more Illinois State Troopers, the largest one time investment in our state’s history.
Carjackings are higher than they’ve ever been, and we have to crack down on the perpetrators who feel like they can get away with it without consequences. To help find the criminals responsible and prevent further theft, I helped pass legislation that makes it harder for them to trade in stolen parts for cash. This same legislation requires that metal recycling facilities report specified information into an electronic record-keeping system for each purchase of a catalytic converter or its contents. This will help prevent any hand shake deals and cash exchanges that benefit criminals.
Thieves have gotten more tech savvy and found ways to break into cars that only require a key fob to start. It was difficult to prosecute these criminals because the technology they were using to intercept the signals from a distance was not classified as a burglary tool. A new law I sponsored modernizes the definition of the possession of burglary tools to include these devices for keyless entry that capture or duplicate a signal from a key fob.
To keep reducing car theft in our neighborhoods, we need long term solutions. This is why I voted in favor of legislation that provided over $12 million dollars to install License Plate Readers on Chicago expressways and Lake Shore Drive. Ensuring that law enforcement agencies have the modern tools they need to apprehend car thieves.
Officer Recruitment and Retention
Law enforcement agencies over the past few years have seen increasing staffing shortages, and many current officers still on the force are required to work longer shifts and their scheduled days off. Canceling days off might make sense on a temporary basis during an emergency situation, but it has become a routine staffing policy for CPD and part of misguided crime-fighting strategy. It is not only grossly unfair to officers and their families, it produces a fatigued and burned out police force that is less effective at fighting crime. This is why I filed legislation that amends the state’s “One Day Rest in Seven Act,” which requires employers to provide at least one period of 24 hours rest each calendar week. The act does not currently apply to law enforcement, including the Chicago Police Department but will if either bill becomes law. The new legislation builds on my previous work done to address mental health concerns often faced by police officers, including the establishment of the Illinois First Responders Suicide Prevention Task Force. Which provided a list of recommendations to reduce suicide among first responders including new peer support groups.