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Local law enforcement and leaders react to criminal justice reform bill

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criminal justice reform

(WSIL) -- Many Illinois law enforcement groups have voiced opposition to a new Criminal Justice reform bill saying it could potentially harm the public including some local sheriff's departments.

News 3 followed up with Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Bullard, who's been very vocal about the potential harm this bill could bring to the public and discussed some of those concerns.

He told News 3 while he is in much support of proper police reform, some issues that he has with this bill include his disappointed that law enforcement agencies weren't involved in making the bill and he wonders where will the funding come from for the mandates, to buy equipment like body cameras.

Aside from those concerns, he says this bill has other changes that would be a threat to the community like no longer suspending driver's licenses for multiple moving violations and changes to Class B and Class C Misdemeanors.

"That's going to be--that's going to be a problem where officers can no longer make custodial arrests and it'll be citation only. So let's just say that the people that live in a neighborhood and have a neighbor who likes to be drunk and disorderly at 2 o'clock in the morning," he said.

News 3 also spoke with one of the members of Illinois Law Enforcement Coalition, who says they are working to petition the bill and encourage Governor JB Pritzker to veto it.

While some aren't in favor of the bill some local leaders say it could be the next step for positive change.

Former NAACP President of the Mt. Vernon branch says this bill could help those affected by law enforcement.

Reverend Erie Patton says requiring body cameras for all departments
could help prevent situations like the Breonna Taylor incident and hold more officers accountable.

She also says changes in police misconduct record keeping is a positive thing because lawsuits won't be thrown out and it could keep better tabs
on an officer's work history.

"When they are able to destroy those records then you have no way of tracing whether a police officer has had issues before."

She also commented about changes to prisons and said that it's good that inmates will be counted for the census and their communities can still get funding.

And she said her "wish list" for police reform would be for everyone to be treated equally and for better police training.

RELATED: Illinois’ controversial police reform bill passes both chambers, heads to Gov. Pritzker’s desk

Maya Skinner

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