Police Shooting Reviews Mandated Under Bill That Passes Senate

Following a BGA/WBEZ investigation, the legislation would require all local police agencies to scrutinize the actions of officers who shoot civilians and, sometimes, fellow police.

A bill that would require police departments statewide to conduct procedural reviews of all police shootings is advancing in Springfield after passing the Senate without opposition.

State Sen. Kwame Raoul introduced the legislation on April 20 following a Better Government Association/WBEZ investigation that found that in 113 police shootings in suburban Cook County, not a single suburban officer was disciplined, re-trained or fired after pulling the trigger.

What’s more, there were almost no procedural reviews of the shootings to determine whether officers followed policies, general orders and best practices.

The measure, approved by the Senate April 26 on a 49-0 vote, requires police agencies to adopt written policies governing reviews of police shootings which would then be available for public review under the Freedom of Information Act. The bill, now awaiting action in the Illinois House, also requires all police involved shootings to be undergo those reviews.

“I have spent years working to improve relations between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve,” said Raoul, who is also the Democratic candidate for attorney general in the November elections. “Establishing trust is an essential part of that effort, and that is impossible to do if police aren’t held accountable for their actions.”

The BGA’s Policy team, which operates independently from the watchdog’s investigative unit, has supported Raoul’s bill.