Thanks to more than a few states in the US deciding to stand up for people and freedoms and, in doing so, voting for Republicans in the past few months’ elections, it seems the nation could be headed in the right direction finally. Unfortunately, however, not all states are so lucky. And those that boast of Democratic leadership are now worse off than ever.
Take the once-great state of Illinois, for example. While most of its neighbors have stuck to their guns, quite literally, Illinois has, once again, seen the freedoms our Constitution affords us and decided against them.
And Sunday, things came to a head in the state’s legislature with the implementation of the SAFE-T Act.
By its name, you would think the new law was all about safety and preserving peace, right? However, like far too many laws nowadays, the names they are given are all too inaccurate.
SAFE-T is supposed to stand for “Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equity-Today.” But if you couldn’t tell by the tell-tale word “equity,” fairness and safety are of little concern for the law.
Well, because, like far too many other liberal states, the new law puts further restrictions on police and, in doing so, gives new freedoms to those breaking the law.
In fact, according to a number of those both in law enforcement and in the state’s senate and assembly, it’s the most “dangerous” law to ever be passed in the state, even in the country.
As Franklin County Sheriff Kyle Bacon told Fox News, the law has been in the works for a little while, but with all of the changes it brings, there was still no real way for his department or that of any law enforcement in the state to fully prepare.
“Trying to sift through a thousand pages to determine what our role is and what’s going to change and how we can best serve the citizens has been first and foremost for us.”
But thanks to a menagerie of changes, Bacon and his colleagues have been left feeling like they’re “paddling upstream.”
Thankfully, there is one major part of the bill that did not make the cut.
Last Saturday, the state’s supreme court decided that SAFE-T’s pretrial release and bail bans were unconstitutional, ensuring that criminals are not just turned right back out on the streets after they are arrested.
According to the state agency, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, SAFE-T focuses on three main aspects of the criminal justice system: policing, what happens before trial, and jails and prisons.
When it comes to policing, the new law puts new limitations on using force, bans access to military surplus supplies by law enforcement, and requires quite a bit more training.
Now, to be sure, I’m a firm believer in training. Only officers who have been trained properly are truly effective. So training in “crisis intervention, de-escalation, use of force, and high-risk traffic stops” isn’t such a bad idea.
However, I’m not sure that special training classes on “racial and ethnic sensitivity” or “implicit bias” are so needed. In fact, there’s data even proving that such isn’t so reliable. And if this becomes too much of a priority, it could mean further erosion in law enforcement effectiveness, as has been seen with our military branches.
Additionally, it’s begun a new and public database in which officers who are fired or lose their badge are essentially blacklisted, and their entire departments can be targeted by the state attorney general.
Thankfully, officers like Bacon are making sure that common sense in law enforcement still abounds. He told Fox that while he and his agency will abide by the new law, they will be exercising “common sense and discretion,” something that the law seems to cut out entirely.
Perhaps with members of law enforcement like this, the results of this dangerous law won’t be as bad as similar ones in New York have been. After all, reforms to law enforcement three years ago in the Democratic-led state haven’t been all that successful, at least not for police or victims. It seems criminals are doing just fine, though.
Maybe Illinois should have looked at those results a bit closer before shoving this new SAFE-T Act through. Now, it may be too late.