City of Freeport Passes Resolution Urging Illinois Governor To Veto House Bill 3653 Regarding Criminal Justice Reform

During the City of Freeport’s City Council meeting on January 19, 2021, the City unanimously passed a Resolution urging the Governor to veto House Bill 3653 regarding Criminal Justice Reform. The City of Freeport, among many other municipalities and police organizations across the state, wishes to express their collective disappointment with the 11th hour passage of broad, sweeping police reform without receiving input from local
governments and local law enforcement agencies.

The City of Freeport fully supports the opportunity for local governments and local law enforcement agencies to engage in meaningful discussion on the crafting of criminal justice reform measures. The City of Freeport would urge the members of the State Legislature to engage in the very behavior that House Bill 3653 purports to extol, namely transparency and accountability for government institutions. Meaningful reform simply cannot be accomplished without the involvement of local governments and law enforcement agencies.

The City of Freeport strongly supports any and all efforts to dismantle institutional and structural racism within our State as well as efforts at increasing accountability and transparency for our law enforcement agencies. However, this bill was drafted without input from local governments and law enforcement agencies. Meaningful reform takes time, cooperation, and willingness to engage on a state and local level with all stakeholders.

Passing legislation without participating in such discussions will leave local governments with long-term administrative and financial burdens that will make meaningful reform next to impossible. I urge the Governor to veto House Bill 3653 and to bring the stakeholders to the table to try again, the right way,” said Mayor Jodi Miller.

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A MESSAGE FROM THE FPD COMMAND STAFF REGARDING ILLINOIS HOUSE BILL 3653

This has been a tough start to the New Year for the men and women of the Freeport Police Department. Make no mistake about it, the legislation that was passed during a lame-duck session in Springfield will not improve public safety in Illinois communities; it will actually have the opposite effect. It was quite disheartening to see such ill-advised measures taken under the cover of darkness; with some votes in support coming during the last few remaining hours of some Senator’s terms. This is not how the process should work in a Constitutional Representative Republic.

The Freeport Police Department has and will continue to support common-sense reforms that are designed to build trust and stronger relationships between law enforcement and the community we serve. As evidence of this commitment, the FPD was one of the first departments in our region to deploy body-worn cameras and has also affirmed the shared principles document that was created by the Illinois NAACP State Conference and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. We also fully support the Illinois Law Enforcement Coalition’s recently developed 15-Point Plan: Safe Communities and Law Enforcement Modernization Strategy.

The FPD is not opposed to change and modernization of our profession; however those changes should be made in a collaborative manner between law enforcement professionals and the State legislature. In that regard, if there is anyone in the State legislature that voted for the damaging changes in HB3653 that would like to have an honest and open discussion about the harmful effects that will result from this bill; let us know and we would be more than willing to discuss it.

We would like to recognize our State Senator and State Representative for supporting public safety with their votes against HB3653. Senator Brian Stewart and State Representative Andrew Chesney continually stand behind the brave and dedicated law enforcement professionals who hold the line between order and chaos, and for that we are extremely grateful.

Lastly, despite this setback we want our community to know that we remain steadfast in our commitment to provide and maintain a safe living and working environment for the citizens of Freeport.

Respectfully, the Command Staff of the Freeport Police Department on behalf of the dedicated and professional officers of the FPD.

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