Senate committee discusses police reforms

(The Center Square) – Illinois lawmakers discussed police reform during a hearing Tuesday called by the Legislative Black Caucus.

The Illinois Senate Criminal Law Committee and Committee on Public Safety joint hearing focused on body cameras, data collection, transparency and official misconduct.

Amy Campanelli, the Cook County Public Defender and a supporter of police body cameras, said police have to held accountable.

“One party like the police cannot be judge, jury and deliberator,” she said. “When that happens, you get people pleading guilty that shouldn’t be pleading guilty.”

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said officers should be required to intervene when they witness another officer using excessive force. Preckwinkle also addressed funding for police departments.

“Members of the General Assembly should try to avoid implementing policies or initiatives that include investing additional dollars into police departments above and beyond what is already allocated to these departments,” Preckwinkle said.

Jim Kaitschuk, president of the Illinois Sheriff’s Association, said Illinois has seen many police reforms over the years and it never seems to be enough for some politicians.

“We have led the country in a lot of police reform efforts and modernizing police tactics over the years, and we just continue to get demonized, and quite honestly I am just sick of it,” Kaitschuk said.

This was the sixth hearing called on criminal justice reform, which is the first of four pillars the Black caucus is using to guide its agenda to address systemic racism.

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