As a law enforcement officer and state representative, I am committed to ensuring that our police and firefighters have the support and resources they need to keep our communities safe. That’s why I am eager to sponsor a new piece of legislation that aims to address some of the most pressing challenges faced by the law enforcement community in Illinois.
My proposal – HB2337 – is aimed at addressing Illinois’ violent crime problem and renewing the state’s commitment to supporting the brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities.
The legislation consists of several key components, including the repeal of the SAFE-T Act (with the exception of the crime victims compensation portion), the movement of all police and fire personnel to Tier 1 for pensions, and a requirement for the state to maintain health insurance plans for police and fire personnel who have completed 20 years of service.
The SAFE-T Act has been under intense scrutiny since before it was signed into law. One of the main components of the law is the elimination of cash bail, which is a major concern, as it allows violent offenders to await trial amongst the general public despite potentially being a violent threat. This is such a concern that a bipartisan group of 100 of Illinois’ 102 county state’s attorneys have publicly come out against the law. The SAFE-T Act still faces legal challenges, with the Illinois Supreme Court set to hear oral arguments on its constitutionality on March 14th.
Moving all police and fire personnel to Tier 1 for pensions and requiring the state to maintain health insurance plans for retirees who have completed 20 years of service will provide much-needed support for our public servants. Like many industries, police and fire departments across Illinois have experienced substantial difficulties with the recruitment and retention of qualified individuals to the profession. These struggles partly stem from violent crime, but also because the risks associated with the profession are not worth the benefits. These measures will help attract quality candidates and preserve the quality of first responders serving our communities.
As a law enforcement officer, I have seen the risks and sacrifices that our police and firefighters make every day to keep our communities safe. With the passage of this legislation, we can show our police and firefighters that they are valued and supported, and that their safety and well-being are of the utmost importance.
I will spend this spring urging my colleagues in the 103rd General Assembly to support these important reforms for the law enforcement and public safety professions. With the passage of these reforms, we can provide the support and resources needed to reduce crime in our communities and keep high-quality first responders serving across the state of Illinois for years to come.
John M. Cabello is State Representative for Illinois’ 90th House District which includes the following communities in Winnebago, Stephenson, and Boone counties: Rockford; Machesney Park; Freeport; Roscoe; Loves Park; Rockton; South Beloit; Caledonia; Durand; Rock City; and Rockton