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Monday, September 20, 2021

Governor Signs Public Safety Legislation

For our next legislative update, we wanted to provide insight on two important legislative updates related to public safety and mental health services in the State of Illinois.

Public Safety

As most of you already know, in January, the Governor signed a criminal justice and public safety reform bill into law. Earlier this summer, we reported on the status of the trailer bill to the legislation, which clarified and amended many provisions of the Act to provided guidance to law enforcement and local government for compliance with the new law. On June 25, Governor Pritzker signed the trailer bill into law as Public Act 102-0028.

The Act includes numerous provisions on police training, the use of body camera footage, police misrepresentation matters, and restrictions on officer use of force, among other clarifications of the January statute. Of note for local governments are the provisions mandating at least 30 hours of in-service officer training every three years and those specifying the permissibility of police review of body camera footage. Under the Act, officers and supervisors may not redact, label, duplicate, or otherwise alter body camera footage, and the footage must be stored securely for 90 days after recording—if altered or destroyed, the report detailing such alteration or destruction must be kept for one year. Footage will not be destroyed within 90 days if there is a “flagged encounter” captured on the recording. Encounters will be flagged if:

·          A complaint has been filed related to the incident;

·          An officer discharged their firearm or used force during the encounter;

·          Death or great bodily harm occurred to anyone involved;

·          The encounter resulted in a detention or an arrest;

·          The officer is the subject of an internal investigation of misconduct;

·          The footage may be valuable to a criminal prosecution; or

·          The recording officer requests that the video be flagged for official purposes.

Additionally, while officers may generally review body camera footage to assist in writing incident reports, no review is permitted when an officer is involved in or is witness to the use of force which results in death or great bodily harm, or when an officer is required to write a report following a complaint of misconduct. This statute should be reviewed carefully and monitored for further amendment to ensure compliance with its many provisions.

Mental Health Services

P.A. 102-0580 creates the Community Emergency Services and Support Act (CESSA). CESSA provides that an EMS Region shall provide mobile emergency mental and behavioral health services to individuals not presenting as a threat to first responders and not involved in criminal activity. CESSA applies to every unit of local government that provides and coordinates ambulance or similar medical response or transportation services for individuals with emergency medical needs.

Post Authored by Mike Halpin & Erin Monforti, Ancel Glink


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