Senator Stadelman MeetingSPRINGFIELD –State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) joined several of his colleagues and the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association as well as the Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council to unveil a package of proposals to support, fund and provide law enforcement officers with resources to serve and protect communities.

“These proposals to support public safety and law enforcement members will benefit our communities,” Stadelman said. “There are key areas that we can reform our response to addressing crime that will ultimately help and greatly increase the effectiveness, attentiveness and well-being of our law enforcement.”

The package aims to provide solutions to several of the problems law enforcement officers are facing including assisting departments with new grant opportunities, providing departments with additional tools to investigate crimes and helping departments utilize resources to address inmate mental health concerns.

Additionally, in an effort to prioritize equal pay in the criminal justice system, an initiative would require counties to pay sheriffs at least 80% of the state’s attorney’s salary.

“Public safety demands and increased expectations for law enforcement continue to put pressure on offices, but unfortunately, funding to support this rise in responsibility doesn’t coincide,” said Jim Kaitschuk, Executive Director of the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association. “To ensure offenders are held accountable and officers are protected, new grant opportunities are needed to keep operations running smoothly without lapses in the criminal justice system.”

Two initiatives aim to fund grants in support of hiring, retaining and training law enforcement officers as well as mental health and substance abuse counseling for incarcerated and recently discharged individuals. Grants can also be used by departments to provide mental health care for officers, purchase safety equipment and fund projects to improve jail facilities.

Other provisions included in the proposals would allow law enforcement officers to continue using conversation recording equipment for violent crime investigations and expands the list of serious offenses in which DNA collection is required from an individual at conviction.

To improve roadway investigations, a new proposal would expand the state’s Expressway Camera Program to include highway camera improvements in an additional fifteen counties outside Cook.

Legislation is expected to be finalized in the coming days.