HunterEnergyCommitteeNew legislation creating law enforcement reforms was signed into law today. State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago, 3) supported the bipartisan push for officer-worn body camera protocols.

“Law enforcement reforms help protect the safety of both officers on duty and citizens. Our communities are stronger when there is trust and practices in place to create accountability,” Hunter said.

The proposal, Senate Bill 1304, would make Illinois one of the first states in the nation to adopt the recommendations of President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The law implements the following recommendations:

•    Requiring independent investigations of all officer-involved deaths
•    Improving mandatory officer training in areas, such as the proper use of force, cultural competency, recognizing implicit bias, interacting with persons with disabilities and assisting victims of sexual assault
•    Creating a statewide database of officers who have been dismissed due to misconduct or resigned during misconduct investigations
•    Improving data collection and reporting of officer-involved and arrest-related deaths and other serious incidents
•    Establishing a Commission on Police Professionalism to make further recommendations on the training and certification of law enforcement officers

The measure also bans the use of chokeholds by police and expands the Traffic Stop Statistical Study –which provides insight into racial disparities in motor vehicle stops and searches—to include pedestrians whom officers “stop and frisk” or temporarily detain for questioning.

The state is set to become the first state with standards and protocols for the use of body cameras by any of the state’s law enforcement agencies. These policies include:

•    Cameras must be turned on at all times when an officer is responding to a call for service or engaged in law enforcement activities.
•    Cameras can be turned off at the request of a crime victim or witness, or when an officer is talking with a confidential informant.
•    Recordings are exempt from FOIA with some exceptions:

o    Recordings can be “flagged” if they have evidentiary value in relation to a use of force incident, the discharge of a weapon or a death.
o    “Flagged” recordings may be disclosed in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act; however, in certain sensitive situations, such as a recording of a sexual assault, victim consent is required prior to disclosure.

•    Recordings must be retained for 90 days or, if “flagged,” for two years or until final disposition of the case in which the recording is being used as evidence.

The law goes into effect on January 1.