Gov. Pritzker signs police and criminal justice reform bill

The law will end the practice of cash bail for non-violent offenders and expand the use-of-force guidelines and officer training.

Video Transcript

CRAIG WALL: This is a comprehensive reform package pushed by the Legislative Black Caucus after the death of George Floyd and other cases of police misconduct last summer. It's meant to deal with many of the inequities in the criminal justice system. But critics say it will have some unintended consequences on police [AUDIO OUT] safety.

Governor JB Pritzker signing the 700-page bill known as the Safety Act into law today.

JB PRITZKER: All Illinoisans will live in a safer and more just state with this law on the books.

CRAIG WALL: One of the key components is the elimination of cash bail, which supporters say unfairly locks up poor people awaiting trial because they can't afford bail, while the wealthy can bond out.

ROBERT PETERS: The status quo isn't working, it just isn't. We're ending a system of cash bond that stands at the intersection of race, class, and gender.

CRAIG WALL: But critics say the way the bill is written, it could put dangerous criminals back on the street by limiting judges' discretion on detaining them.

JOHN CURRAN: It's going to be a catch-and-release system when police do catch someone, and it's going to be impossible to detain most violent criminals.

CRAIG WALL: The law will require all police in the state to wear body cameras by 2025, and would also restrict officers' ability to pursue fleeing suspects, and would allow people to file anonymous complaints against police. Most police organizations oppose the legislation, calling it the "anti-police bill."

ED WOJCICKI: Well, there's already rumblings that people are taking a look at getting out of the profession.

CRAIG WALL: But supporters said, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and other cases of police brutality last summer, there was a wake-up call about the need for reform.

KWAME RAOUL: This legislation being signed today does go a long way towards calling an end to such tolerance, and begin to put a system of accountability and professionalism forth that can hopefully begin to rebuild the trust in law enforcement.

CRAIG WALL: This new law also calls for new police training in crisis intervention and de-escalation, and it also strengthens victims' rights. Critics say they're hoping there can be some future revisions of the law to address some of their concerns.