Police Reform Bill Passes the Illinois General Assembly


On May 30, 2015, the Illinois General Assembly took the first step in implementing major police reforms by passing the police reform omnibus bill sponsored by Representative Elgie Sims (D-Chicago) and Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago). With significant bi-partisan support, SB 1304 passed the House by a vote of 107-3-4 and advanced out of the Senate by a vote of 45-5-6. It will now be sent to Governor Rauner, who is expected to sign it.

Community Renewal Society launched the Police Accountability Reform Platform at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Faith in Action Assembly on January 19, 2015. This platform was created by the leaders of the CRS Police Issue Team and grows out of community concerns to improve police transparency and accountability, and strengthen public trust with the police.  

At the state level, we have advocated for the Illinois General Assembly to improve police accountability by (1) removing the sworn affidavit requirement to file a citizen complaint and prevent the destruction of police misconduct records; (2) creating clear policy guidelines for police body-worn cameras; and (3) ending stop and frisk discriminatory practices.

SB 1304 addresses a wide range of police reforms and includes some of our priorities for creating statewide guidelines for police body-worn cameras and implementing policies to end stop and frisk discriminatory practices. 

SB 1304 includes reforms to:

SB 1304 represents a victory and a first step forward in police reform, but there is still much work to do to implement reforms that are important to our community. We are committed to continue to push for additional reforms to increase police accountability at the state and city level.

Omnibus Police Reform Bill (SB 1304) Policy Details

Collect Data to End Stop and Frisk Discriminatory Practices

A March 2015 report, Stop and Frisk in Chicago, by the ACLU of Illinois found troubling signs that the Chicago Police Department has a current practice of unlawfully using stop and frisk and disproportionately targeting Black residents. We joined the ACLU in calling for legislation to collect data on stops and frisks and make it public; and to require officers to issue a receipt at the end of a stop. 

Data on stops involving detention

SB 1304 expands the Illinois Traffic and Pedestrian Stop Statistical Study Act to collect data on stops resulting in a detention (all frisks, searches, summons, and arrests). Whenever a police officer subjects a person to detention in a public place, other than for an alleged violation of the Vehicle Code, he or she must complete a pedestrian stop card. This part of the statue is scheduled to be repealed on July 1, 2019.

Officers should record data on all stops. However, SB 1304 does not require officers to record data on stops that do not result in a detention or ticket. This would allow supervisors and the public to compare how often officers’ stops lead to an arrest. In New York City, this data was a valuable benchmark to demonstrate the unlawful use of the stop and frisk practice.

Data recorded on stop cards

The officer will record the following data on the stop card: the officer's subjective determination of the gender and race of the person stopped; the reason for the stop; date, time and location of the stop; whether a protective pat down or frisk was conducted of the person; and, if so, the reason for the protective pat down or frisk, and whether it was with consent or by other means; whether or not contraband was found during the protective pat down or frisk; and, if so, the type and amount of contraband seized; whether or not a search beyond a protective pat down or frisk was conducted of the person or his or her effects; and, if so, the reason for the search, and whether it was with consent or by other means; whether or not contraband was found during the search beyond a protective pat down or frisk; and, if so, the type and amount of contraband seized; the disposition of the stop, such as a warning, a ticket, a summons, or an arrest; if a summons or ticket was issued, or an arrest made, a record of the violations, offenses, or crimes alleged or charged; and the name and badge number of the officer who conducted the detention.

Data reporting

The Illinois Department of Transportation will analyze the data provided by law enforcement agencies and submit an annual report of the findings to the Governor, General Assembly, the Racial Profiling Prevention and Oversight Board, and each law enforcement agency by July 1 of each year.

Officers required to issue a receipt after a stop

SB 1304 requires officers, unless impractical or impossible, to provide a person stopped after a frisk or search with a document which includes the reason for the stop and contains the officer's name, agency, and badge number. Officers are not required to issue a receipt for searches or inspections for routine security screenings at facilities or events.

Create an Officer Professional Conduct Database

The Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board will create and maintain an officer professional conduct database. All law enforcement agencies shall notify the Board when an officer is discharged or dismissed; or an officer resigns while under investigation for a Class 2 or greater felony. The database will be available to any chief administrative officer of a law enforcement agency that shall show each reported instance, including the name of the officer, the nature of the violation and reason for the final decision of discharge or dismissal, and any statement provided by the officer.

Mandate Independent Investigation of Officer-Involved Deaths

Each law enforcement agency is required to have a written policy regarding the investigation of officer-involved deaths. Each investigation shall be conducted by at least 2 investigators who cannot currently or formerly be employed by the law enforcement agency. The lead investigator shall be a person certified by the Illinois Law Enforcement Standards Board as a Lead Homicide Investigator, or have a similar approved training. If the officer-involved death involves a motor vehicle accident, at least one investigator shall be certified as a Crash Reconstruction Specialist, or have a similar approved training. If the State's Attorney, or a designated special prosecutor, determines there is no basis to prosecute or indict the officer, the investigators shall release a public report.

Expand Police Training Requirements

Police officers must complete annual training on law updates and the use of force, which shall include scenario-based training. At least every 3 years, police officers must complete training on procedural justice, constitutional and proper use of law enforcement authority, civil rights, human rights, and cultural competency. Training shall also be provided to officers who utilize body-worn cameras.  

Additional training is required for probationary police officers on procedural justice; arrest and use and control tactics; search and seizure, including temporary questioning; human rights; cultural competency, including implicit bias and racial and ethnic sensitivity; constitutional and proper use of law enforcement authority; recognition of mental conditions, including, but not limited to the disease of addiction; and identifying and interacting with persons with disabilities. The curriculum shall also include specific training in techniques for immediate response to and investigation of domestic violence and sexual assault cases, including cultural perceptions and common myths of rape, as well as interview techniques that are trauma informed, victim centered, and victim sensitive.

Prohibit the Use of Chokeholds 

Peace officers are prohibited from using a chokehold in the performance of their duties, unless deadly use of force is justified under Article 7 of the Criminal Code of 2012. “Chokehold” means applying any direct pressure to the throat, windpipe, or airway of another with the intent to reduce or prevent the intake of air.

Clarify the Process to Appoint a Special Prosecutor

The court or an interested person in a cause or proceeding, civil or criminal, may file a petition alleging that the State's Attorney is sick, absent, or unable to fulfill his or her duties, or has an actual conflict of interest in the cause or proceeding. The court may appoint some competent attorney to prosecute or defend such cause or proceeding. The State’s Attorney may file a petition to recuse himself or herself from a cause or proceeding for any other reason he or she deems appropriate and the court shall appoint a special prosecutor.

Create the Commission on Police Professionalism

The General Assembly creates the Commission on Police Professionalism to review the current training and certification process for law enforcement officers, review the duties of the various types of law enforcement officers, including auxiliary officers, review the standards for the issuance of badges, shields, and other police and agency identification, and examine whether law enforcement officers should be licensed. The Commission shall submit a report of its findings and legislative recommendations to the General Assembly and Governor by January 31, 2016.

Set Rules for In-Car Video Cameras

The Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board shall establish rules for the use of in-car video cameras for law enforcement agencies that received grants from the Law Enforcement Camera Grant Fund. The rules shall include the following requirements: cameras must be installed in the law enforcement agency vehicles; video recordings must provide audio of the officer when outside the vehicle; camera access must be restricted to the supervisors of the officer in the vehicle; cameras must be turned on continuously throughout the officer’s shift. A copy of the recording must be made available upon request to personnel of the law enforcement agency, the local State’s Attorney, and any persons depicted in the video. Law enforcement agencies that receive money under this grant shall provide for the storage of the video records for at least 2 years. Each agency receiving a grant for in-car video cameras must provide an annual report to the Board, the Governor, and the General Assembly by May 1 of each year during the grant period.

Establish Monthly Uniform Crime Reporting

On a monthly basis, all law enforcement agencies shall submit to the Department of State Police data on:  arrest-related deaths, officer-involved non-fatal shootings, hate crimes, domestic crimes, index of crimes, incidents reported by schools and incident-based information on criminal homicides. The Department of State Police will make annual compilations of crime statistics available.  Compliance with monthly uniform crime reporting will be considered by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board as a factor in awarding money from the Law Enforcement Camera Grant Fund.

Increase Resources and Accountability to Improve Illinois’ State Crime Lab

Beginning on July 1, 2016, the Department of State Police shall quarterly report on the status of the processing of forensic biology and DNA evidence submitted to the Department of State Police Laboratory for analysis. The report shall be submitted to the Governor, the General Assembly and shall be posted on the Department of State Police website.

The Department of State Police shall obtain, implement, and maintain an Electronic Laboratory Information Management System to efficiently and effectively track all evidence submitted for forensic testing.

Beginning July 1, 2015, the State Crime Laboratory Fund shall receive up to $500,000 a month or $6 million a year from money collected under the Use Tax Act, the Service Use Tax Act, Service Occupation Tax Act, and the Retailers' Occupation Tax Act. These resources are to be used to reduce the crime lab’s backlog.