Sheriff has concerns about Criminal Justice bill


Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle has concerns about the Criminal Justice Reform bill that has been passed by the Illinois House and Senate and is currently awaiting signature from Gov. JB Pritzker.

VanVickle, who testified before the House and Senate before HB 3653 was passed on Jan. 13, said he is not opposed to modernization in law enforcement, but this bill needs work.

“It's clear to anyone who reads the bill that law enforcement was not involved in drawing up the bill's final provisions,” he said.

The bill does a number of things, including ending cash bail for non-violent offenders state-wide, prohibiting chokeholds and requiring all police officers in the state to wear body cameras.

Providing this equipment is up to local departments.

“This legislation places numerous mandates on police agencies with no funding source for local communities,” VanVickle said. “Because of this it will reduce the amount of funding available for actual on-the-street police protection and/or cause the raising of local taxes.”

He said the bill also allows the public to file anonymous complaints against any officer without having to swear that those complaints are true, and those complaints remain in the officer's file.

“The careers of good police officers can be ruined by anyone willing to anonymously submit lies,” he said.

State Rep. Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport) took to the floor of the House to speak out against a bill which he said, “jeopardizes community safety.”

 “Where I come from, Northwest Illinois, we back the badge,” Chesney said. “This bill is flawed public policy which gives more rights to criminals over law enforcement. I stand with our law enforcement, not because it is convenient, but rather because they keep my family and my district safe.”

On Facebook, VanVickle said organizations have been meeting to address concerns regarding criminal justice.

“We continue to be open to talks but unfortunately, the way in which this bill was released without any warning or review during a lame-duck session does not allow for the coalition to accurately or properly provide dialog in the remaining two days. As I stated previously we are not opposed to modernization but let's get it right the first time. This bill certainly does not do that.”

It is not known if, or when, Pritzker will sign the bill into law.