Local politicians and law enforcement react to House Bill 163

The future of criminal justice policies and policing in the state is up for debate in a new bill that’s sitting before The Illinois General Assembly.
Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 6:53 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -Illinois lawmakers debate a new bill designed to reform the criminal justice system and policing policies.

“This is not going to protect the public,” said Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana. ”This is going to hurt the public as far as safety and the victims and the criminals themselves.”

“In all my years I’ve not seen a bill that could have that could have more devastating effect on local communities and local families than this legislation,” said Illinois State Senator Dave Syverson.

House Bill 163 would end cash bail in Illinois. Lawmakers say it would also eliminate qualified immunity which protects officers from being held personally liable for constitutional violations.

“I’m in full support of House Bill 163,” said Representative Maurice West. “It’s a bill that we at the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus have been working on since the killing of George Flyod.”

West says ending cash bail doesn’t mean all criminals will be free to walk the streets.

“A judge can still determine if you need to stay in jail or not based on the crime,” said West.

Caruana says he wants lawmakers to consider all potential risks of passing this bill.

“This is sounding off the bells and whistles to me that if they met and I’m sure they met they did not pay attention, they did not understand, because they never worked in the industry and this is what’s very concerning to me and we need to work together and drill this down,” said Caruana.

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