Police Chiefs Group Ready To Talk With Attorney General About Licensing Cops

ILLINOIS — Police officers in Illinois already have to get a state certification and some state officials are now pushing to require state licensure for law enforcement officers, but details on such a measure have yet to materialize.

Attorney General Kwame Raoul floated the idea several years ago when he was a state Senator. He brought the idea up again after discord after George Floyd was killed in police custody in Minneapolis.

The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police is prepared to sit down with Raoul next week to discuss the idea.

Ed Wojcicki, head of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, said there could be some good discussions.

“We recognize that the public wants accountability from the police and licensing, if done properly, might be a way to get that done better,” he said.

Wojcicki said he hasn’t seen concrete details yet regarding how much it would cost, who would oversee the licensing process, or how such a thing would work between local hiring decisions and state licensure.

“As they say the devil’s in the details and that remains to be seen,” he said.

Wojcicki said the association has some concerns. He said he’s already heard one suggestion to have officers get similar amounts of education and training to what doctors get.

“I think that’s a crazy idea because that’s not what reasonable people will want, but if you had that level then more politics would be involved,” Wojcicki said.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he was interested in the idea

“I’ve talked to a number of police officers about licensing,” Pritzker said Tuesday. “So we’re trying to take into consideration an issue like that and all sides of it to try and see how we can get something like that done.”

State Rep. John Cabello, R-Machesney Park, who is also a police officer, said the discussion takes away from dealing with public corruption within the state legislature.

“I will talk about that after we start maybe licensing some of our state representatives and senators,” Cabello said.

Cabello said not every cop is bad just as not every governor is bad, but he said Illinois has had a number of chief executives put behind bars over the years.

“Look how many governors we sent to prison, look how many state representatives have been indicted, a state senator or two are going to be indicted, so once again it’s a shifting of the convention to what their narrative is and what they want it to be.”

Former governors who have spent time in prison include Len Small, Otto Kerner Jr., Dan Walker, George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich.

Cabello also said requiring cops to be licensed won’t address the state’s poor finances or foster a better business climate to bring more jobs and opportunities to all communities across the state.

The Center Square – Greg Bishop

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