State Senator Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport) joined over 75 top-ranking law enforcement officials earlier this month for a discussion about public safety issues in Northwest Illinois. Police chiefs, lieutenants, sheriffs, and police officers, along with leaders from the Illinois State Police and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, attended the Freeport event.
“It is important to connect with law enforcement leaders from this region on a regular basis so we can hear directly from them about issues that affect their departments and their ability to do their jobs effectively,” said Chesney. “These are the men and women who are charged with keeping our communities safe, so it is vital we receive their feedback and thoughtfully consider their suggestions.”
Senator Chesney and other Statehouse elected officials provided a legislative update on recently-passed and pending legislation that impacts public safety and criminal justice, but most of the time was spent hearing from law enforcement leaders.
“Law enforcement officials are doing their best to abide by the mandates within the SAFE-T Act, but many remain concerned about the ability to keep some violent offenders behind bars once they are arrested,” said Chesney. “The turnstile brand of criminal justice we now have through the SAFE-T places many criminals right back on the streets. If and when these individuals commit new crimes, it is local law enforcement that has to re-arrest them again and again.”
According to Chesney, members of the law enforcement community also discussed struggles with officer retention and recruitment, and expressed concerns about the overall sentiment of the law enforcement profession. “It is clear we must continue to push back against anti-police rhetoric and the anti-police public policies that have been pushed by Democrats who place the rights of criminals over the rights of crime victims and Illinois families,” added Chesney. “Every Illinoisan has the right to feel safe in their home and in their community, and we need to be working collaboratively with our partners in law enforcement to make sure they have the tools they need to do their job. We also must make sure our first responders know we have their backs and will never stop fighting for them.”