Rockford, Illinois News

Syverson responds to police reform bill: ‘This proposal will put violent offenders back on the streets’

Rep. Maurice West also weighs in.

ROCKFORD — State Sen. Dave Syverson released a statement about Illinois newly passed police reform bill.

The Republican calle d the bill, devastating, rushed legislation that mirrors an old bill he says was also detrimental to the people of the state.

“At three in the morning, Democrat lawmakers throw a 700-page bill on our desks and ask that we vote on a complex criminal reform proposal only an hour later,” Syverson wrote in the statement. “That’s not feasible and, more importantly, that is not how effective reform is passed. House Bill 3563 might be a new bill number, but it’s the same bad bill that we opposed under House Bill 163. This proposal will put violent offenders back on the streets, put an end to cash bail, endangers our residents and threatens the law enforcement profession in Illinois. It’s unbelievable. The safety and wellbeing of our communities and citizens are at stake here. We cannot afford not to get criminal justice reform right. Unfortunately, those who supported this bill, did not agree. I respect our local law enforcement and value the safety of our communities above all else. This was shortsighted and devastating anti-police legislation that should not have passed. I voted no this morning and vow to continue standing with our police officers.”

Syverson’s statement is similar to those made by Winnebago County officials, including Sheriff Gary Caruana, during a press conference in Rockford. Gmultiple local law enforcement agencies and Republican leaders in Rockford said they opposed the bill during a press conference.

“(The bill) handcuffs us and binds our hands from going out and doing our jobs,” Caruana said. “We are very concerned about this. This is an attack on victims and the community.”

State Rep. Maurice West (D-67) disagreed, saying the bill is needed to balance how the state looks at criminal justice.

“This is not an attack on law enforcement,” West said in a Facebook video recorded on the House floor. “It’s not an attack on our community. It’s not an attack on victims. It’s about empowering our community, empowering our victims, and empowering our law enforcement to the same playing field. Because our community are the ones who pay for our law enforcement. Our law enforcement are the ones who serve and protect our community. We should be eye-to-eye on things–empowerment on both sides.”

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