Illinois’ law enforcement groups said they face a training budget shortage that they said was caused by new laws allowing judges to waive certain fines for traffic violations.
Much of Illinois’ law enforcement training is provided by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board. The board is funded by fees tacked on to traffic tickets.
The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association and Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police said the board faces a $5 million shortfall that was taking a toll on local departments.
The shortage doesn’t come from lawmakers sweeping any specific fund, rather laws they passed that allow judges to waive fee assessments on traffic convictions. The agencies said they had seen a 16 percent drop in revenue for the current fiscal year and the problem was getting worse.
“At the end of 2019, it went down $450,000 for each of the last three months and then in January it ballooned to $1.1 million,” said Jim Kaitschuk, executive director of the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association. “A pretty significant impact when you’re talking about a $16 million fund.”
Moreover, Kaitschuk said the training required for a certified police officer in Illinois was becoming more strenuous, with 11 additional training mandates added since 2016.
“We get new mandates every year passed by the General Assembly that says we need to have additional training on X, Y, or Z,” he said.
The result is that local law enforcement agencies aren’t getting reimbursed for the training, adding to a local cost of about $6,000 per new officer.
The law passed in 2018 was an initiative of the Illinois Supreme Court, Kaitschuk said.