General News
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Several months ago we recognized that the legislative session which ended today would present an onslaught of attacks on police officer rights.  Accordingly, the PBPA formed a coalition with the Metropolitan Alliance of Police, and the APPO.  As we approached the final days of the session we were joined by the Illinois Conference of Police and the Illinois Police Association in our efforts to represent the rank & file officers of Illinois law enforcement.  And as the attack intensified in the “lame duck” session we were gratified to have the support of the Illinois AFL-CIO, AFSCME and our brothers & sisters in the fire service at the AFFI.

The Coalition for Frontline Police Officers

Brothers and Sisters in Law Enforcement:

Collectively, we write to you with great disappointment regarding the passage of HB 3653.  For months, our organizations have worked with a common goal: preserve a voice of frontline worker police officers, while striving to ensure all Illinoisans feel safe.  It is fundamental, all of us should be treated with dignity and respect. All of us, are entitled to procedural justice.

HB 3653 turns these principles on their head. Regardless of the officer’s race, religion, political affiliation, or sexual orientation, HB 3653 unacceptably dehumanizes police officers. Moreover, this Bill still does not address root causes, namely, shortcomings of politicos and their hand selected political appointees. Labor does not hire, fire, promote, discipline, or train frontline workers. Instead, this awesome responsibility is solely controlled by management. Nevertheless, it is hollow consolation for us to explain how much worse this legislation was prior to our dedicated resistance. 

Without our organizations’ (and their members’) advocacy, today, our members would have been stripped of all collective bargaining rights, disciplinary protections, due process rights, qualified immunity, tort immunity, and been responsible for paying to attend training on their own time.  Not kidding, all of those provisions were in the legislation up until 3:04 a.m. on January 13, 2021.  At that time, yielding to pressure from our members and our allies in the house of labor, the General Assembly took out the most offensive portions of the bill.  Nonetheless, we cannot call this a “win”.  However, we have lived to fight another day and preserved essential rights afforded to us since 1984.  

This memorandum will give you a high level overview of HB 3653.  Each of your respective labor unions will follow up with more detailed guidance and strategies.  Thank you for your calls, emails, letters, and more than 20,000 witness slips.  These efforts are the only reason you still have the rights you enjoy.  This will not be the last time you are called upon to stand up for yourself and your fellow law enforcement officers. Thank you for continuing to answer the call to service and our call to action.

Summary of HB 3653 (Senate Amendment 2)

The Good News

  • Police officers retain full collective bargaining rights.
  • Police officers can still challenge discipline through arbitration.
  • Police officers retain qualified immunity and state law tort immunity.
  • Police officers are still indemnified and defended by employer.
  • Employer must provide training.
  • Whistleblower protection for officers reporting wrongdoing.
  • Use of force incidents will be reported to the FBI for statistical purposes.

The Other News

  • Police officers are now subject to enhanced certification and decertification.
    -We have some concerns over the fairness of this process.
    -Decertification is determined by an 11-person panel (8 appointed by Attorney General and 3 by Governor), reviewed by the ILETS Board.
    -ILETSB will have their own investigators. However, the employer will generally be tasked with conducting the investigation.
    -If the officer is decertified, and fails to prevail on administrative review, they are automatically terminated.
    -Police chiefs appear to be subject to decertification.
    -We are still studying this nuanced process and each Union will update members separately.
  • In the future, body cameras will be mandatory.
  • Each union will issue its own guidance on body cameras.
  • Body cameras will be phased in over years based upon the size of your employer.
    -Over 500,000 – 1/1/2022
    -100,000 – 500,000 – 1/1/2023
    -50,000 – 100,000 – 1/1/2024
    -Under 50,000 (and ISP) – 1/1/2025

The Sad News

  • Cash free bail will be the norm in 2 years – even for violent offenders.
  • Use of force and duty to intervene definitions are complicated and conflicting.
  • Once taken into custody, within three hours, a suspect must be given 3 phone calls PRIOR TO BEING QUESTIONED.
  • No funding for training for frontline officers.

Please know this is a summary. Each union and its attorneys continue to examine this expansive, challenging, complex, and hastily passed legislation. We will be in touch.  We cannot thank each and every member enough for their advocacy and trust.  Please know we are still fighting for you and acting with you and your families at the forefront of our thoughts and deeds.  We are honored to represent you.

Please reach out to your union representative for further information. Stay safe and well!  

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