On January 13, 2021, the Illinois General Assembly passed HB 3653, a police and criminal justice reform bill, and awaits signature by the Governor. The IML provided a comprehensive summary of the bill, which can be found here. HCB is looking closely at the 764-page bill and will continue to report on portions that may impact on law enforcement and local governments.
Our second installment looks at the bill’s impact on officer training and discipline:
New Training Requirements
The bill amends the Illinois Police Training Act (50 ILCS 705/) to add mandatory 30-hours of training on use of force for officers to be completed every three years. The training must provide officers with knowledge of policies and laws regulating the use of force; equip officers with tactics and skills, including de-escalation techniques, to prevent or reduce the need to use force or, when force must be used, to use force that is objectively reasonable, necessary, and proportional under the totality of the circumstances; and ensure appropriate supervision and accountability (50 ILCS 705/10.6).
The bill also amends the Community-Law Enforcement Partnership for Deflection and Substance Use Disorder Treatment Act, to require training on addiction and drug treatment programs (5 ILCS 820/21).
The bill revises the Illinois Police Training Act, making it the sole and exclusive procedure for law enforcement certification and decertification and are not subject to collective bargaining under the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act or appealable except as set forth in the Act (50 ILCS 705/6.7). It also states that an individual officer does not have a property interest in employment or his/her certification, which removes any federal due process challenges to the decertification process.
The bill prohibits an uncertified individual from being assigned the duties of a law enforcement or correctional officer, be authorized to carry firearms by an employer, and mandates that a failure to certify in accordance with the Act will cause the officer to forfeit the position (50 ILCS 705/8.1).
The bill adds a section requires officers to submit a verification form confirming compliance with the Act which applies to the three calendar years preceding the date of verification (50 ILCS 705/8.4).
Law Enforcement Certification Review Panel
The Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board is charged with enforcing that all law enforcement officers comply with the Illinois Police Training Act and any administrative rules adopted under the Act (50 ILCS 705/6(g)), as well as suspend officer’s certificate or decertify the officer who violates that Act (50 ILCS 705/6(h)). The bill creates a Law Enforcement Certification Review Panel, which is tasked (along with the Board) with investigating complaints of possible violations of the Act and decertifying officers who violate the Act.
The Panel and Board have the authority to suspend officers on any emergency basis (50 ILCS 705/8.3), and to automatically decertify officers convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors (50 ILCS 705/6.1).
The bill also gives the Board the discretion to decertify officers for certain violations, following an administrative hearing (50 ILCS 705/6.3):
(1) committed an act that would constitute a felony or misdemeanor which could serve as basis for automatic decertification;
(2) exercised excessive use of force;
(3) failed to comply with the officer’s duty to intervene (defined as “an obligation to intervene to prevent harm from occurring that arises when: an officer is present, and has reason to know (1) that excessive force is being used or that any constitutional violation has been, including through acts or omissions; committed by a law enforcement official; and (2) the officer has a realistic opportunity to intervene.” 50 ILCS 705/6.3(a));
(4) tampered with a dash camera or body-worn camera or data recorded by a dash camera or body-worn camera or directed another to tamper with or turn off a dash camera or body-worn camera or data recorded by a dash camera or body-worn camera for the purpose of concealing, destroying or altering potential evidence;
(5) engaged in the following conduct relating to the reporting, investigation, or prosecution of a crime: committed perjury, made a false statement, or knowingly tampered with or fabricated evidence; and
(6) engaged in any unprofessional, unethical, deceptive, or deleterious conduct or practice harmful to the public; such conduct or practice need not have resulted in actual injury to any person.
Officer disciplinary records and misconduct database
The bill requires “all public records and nonpublic records related to complaints, investigations and adjudications of police misconduct” to be permanently retained (50 ILCS 205/25).
It also creates a state-wide officer misconduct database of any adjudication of a “willful violation of department, agency, or the Illinois State Police policy, official misconduct, or violation of law when the violation leads to a 10-day or more suspension; could trigger an official formal investigation; involves a question of truthfulness as to a material fact, bias, or integrity; or the officer resigns or retires during the investigation and the officer has notice of the investigation (50 ILCS 705/9.2). The officer has the right to provide a statement regarding the reported violation. Both the violation and statement are maintained in the database. The database is accessible to the State’s Attorneys and the Attorney General’s office and information obtained must be produced to criminal defendants under Brady v. Maryland. The database is also accessible to the chief administrative officer of any government agency for hiring purposes. The database must be checked before any hiring offers.
Additionally, separate searchable databases of all law enforcement officers in the state and of all misconduct must be made publicly available on the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board’s website. The law enforcement officer’s database for the public must include: (i) the law enforcement officer’s local or state governmental agency; (ii) the date of the officer’s initial certification and the officer’s current certification status; and (iii) any sustained complaint of misconduct that resulted in decertification and the date thereof unless the information would allow the public to ascertain the home address of an officer or another person. Any family informaiton should not be included in the database.
The database of completed investigations (when the investigation has been terminated or the decertification completed) for the public will identify each law enforcement officer by a confidential and anonymous number and include: (i) the law enforcement officer’s local or state governmental agency; (ii) the date of the incident referenced in the complaint; (iii) the location of the incident; (iv) the race and ethnicity of each officer involved in the incident; (v) the age, gender, race and ethnicity of each person involved in the incident, if known; (vi) whether a person in the complaint, including a law enforcement officer, was injured, received emergency medical care, was hospitalized or died as a result of the incident; (vii) the governmental agency or other entity assigned to conduct an investigation of the incident; (viii) when the investigation was completed; (ix) whether the complaint was sustained; and (x) the type of misconduct investigated; provided, however, that the Board shall redact or withhold such information as necessary to prevent the disclosure of the identity of an officer.
Uniform Peace Officers’ Disciplinary Act
The bill also amends the Uniform Peace Officers’ Disciplinary Act (50 ILCS 725/3.2 – 725/3.8) by removing the requirements that an officer must be informed of the names of all complainants prior to an administrative proceeding; that an officer under investigation to be informed of the name, rank and unit or command of the officer in charge of the investigation; that the complaint must be sworn or supported by a sworn affidavit. It also allows anonymous complaints to the ILETSB of any misconduct the person believes a law enforcement officer has committed (50 ILCS 727/1-35).
Please contact us if you have any concerns regarding the new bill, or have any questions as to how your police department or jail must comply with the new standards set forth in the new bill.