Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation on Wednesday involving policing reforms and rules governing the use of police body cameras.
The package of reforms bans the use of police chokeholds and requires independent investigations into police-involved deaths. Law enforcement officers will also have to collect more data related to their use of stop-and-frisk tactics, among other reforms.
"Today we are taking steps to strengthen the relationship between our law enforcement officers and the public they protect with the Police and Community Improvement Act," the governor said in a statement. "As a society, we must ensure the safety of both the public and law enforcement. SB 1304 establishes new and important guidelines and training for police departments and their officers, while protecting the public by prohibiting officers from using excessive force. I thank the legislators who sponsored this bill. It will have a lasting and positive impact on the people of Illinois."
Regarding body cameras, the measure does not mandate that police forces use the devices. Instead, it clarifies when police can turn the cameras on and off and establishes a fund that law enforcement agencies could tap through grants to help cover the cost of the equipment and training. The fund will get its revenue from a $5 fee added to traffic violation tickets.
"In a political climate not known for its abundance of bipartisan cooperation, we nevertheless built strong support on both sides of the aisle and from the governor for a package of reforms that demonstrate a serious commitment to restoring trust between law enforcement and communities," said State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), the measure's chief Senate sponsor. "This pioneering law is a response to recent officer-involved deaths but also a public acknowledgement that communities are only truly safe for all their residents when police and the people they serve can trust one another. We know there is much progress to be made on that front, and that was the impetus for the changes enacted today."
Rep. Elgie Sims (D-Chicago) spearheaded the legislation in the House.
"Police encounters gone tragically wrong in Ferguson, New York City, Baltimore and elsewhere forced the nation to confront uncomfortable realities about race and policing in America, and here in Illinois, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle felt compelled to take action to address the disparities and restore trust," Sims said. "Independent investigations, better training and better record-keeping will foster an atmosphere of seriousness about tackling racial disparities in law enforcement and zero tolerance of police misconduct."