Stewart echoes law enforcement concerns, strongly opposes criminal justice reform proposal

Senator Brian Stewart says he is standing shoulder to shoulder with local law enforcement officials who have expressed serious concerns about several provisions in a criminal justice reform proposal currently awaiting action by Illinois lawmakers. 

The 45th District Senator says he strongly opposes House Bill 163 because its provisions are a blatant attack on the law enforcement profession, and it leaves communities vulnerable to criminal acts and violence. 

“We should renew our commitment to the police officers who put their lives on the line every day to serve and protect, and not use recent actions at violent protests and scenes of criminal activity as an excuse to overhaul our criminal justice system,” said Senator Stewart, a former Stephenson County Sheriff’s Sergeant. “Any system of government should be open to review and positive change; however, serious concerns are being raised by law enforcement officials about the impact of provisions in House Bill 163 on the safety of our counties, our communities and our residents.” 

Senate Amendment #2 to House Bill 163 would:

Force multiple unfunded mandates on police departments with threats of funding cuts if all the mandates are not met. This will result in even less money and more cuts to departments.

Prohibit pre-trial detention when an offender poses a danger to the community at-large.
Significantly limit offenders being detained, which will pose a significant risk to victims, witnesses to crime and the community at-large.
Impede any law enforcement investigation, which will lead to fewer crimes being solved and no accountability for criminal perpetrators.
Severely limit accountability for accomplices to murder by amending the Felony Murder Rule.
Remove all due process protections for police officers. 

“Yes, there are police officers whose actions have cast a dark shadow on a very honorable profession. Changes are needed to address those bad actors, who are the exception to the rule, but dramatically altering the system is not the answer,” Senator Stewart said.