Letters to the Editor

Letter: Governor needs to veto HB 3653

To the Editor,

Understandably, most of us have not read HB 3653, a massive amendment to existing state criminal law, passed by both the Illinois House of Representatives and Senate. With Governor Pritzker’s signature it becomes law. The bulk of the bill is text of existing law with redactions of “bail,” replaced by “pretrial release.” The state will no longer permit bail following any arrest.

The legislators impose their rules upon law enforcement. Concerning the use of force by police, there is to be no chokehold or restraint above the shoulders with risk of asphyxiation and no deadly force used to prevent escape from a penal institution. An officer has a duty to intervene to stop unauthorized force by another and to make a written report of it. Actually, police are required to make reports on everything and reports on making reports.

The best excerpt is this: “The decision by a peace officer to use force shall be evaluated carefully and thoroughly, in a manner that reflects the gravity of that authority [to use physical force] and the serious consequences of the use of force by peace officers, in order to ensure that officers use force consistent with law and agency policies.” The officer probably has less time to make that decision “based on the totality of the circumstances” than it takes to read that single quote.

Law Enforcement Misconduct, according to the 101st Assembly is to include: 1) misrepresentation or failure to provide facts describing an incident in any report or during any investigation of their conduct; 2) withholding knowledge of another officer’s violation; 3) failure to comply with law regarding body cameras. Any one of these is a Class 3 felony, the same as involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, aggravated battery or concealment of a homicidal death. The penalty is 2-5 years, and the police officer loses his/her job.

These are not to be guidelines but state law. The Illinois Department of Corrections will have 30 days to comply with assignation of new secret ID numbers and identifying home addresses for all inmates for use by the State Board of Elections. If you thought election balloting was corrupt in November, just wait until the prisons issue ballots.

Police and deputies are to be required to undergo training in use of force, crisis intervention, mental health disabilities, the use of body cameras, a program for intercession in drug abuse treatment …. everything to special treatment of pregnant prisoners. Amendments to the FOIA make arrest records and criminal history data available to the public within 72 hours. Were not all of that enough (and there is more) Governor Pritzker is to appoint a Task Force on Constitutional Rights and Remedies to compile a report for the General Assembly by May 1, 2021, with findings, recommendations and resources, sure to lead to another meddlesome bill.

My opinion is this bill was drawn up and amended under the table without input from law enforcement. The governor needs to veto HB 3653.

Evalyn Hassler

Princeton