Naperville council votes 5-3 on resolution urging discussion of state’s criminal justice reform SAFE-T Act – Chicago Tribune
A resolution encouraging state legislators to work with law enforcement and judicial leaders to address what some say are problems in the Illinois SAFE-T Act was approved Tuesday by a divided Naperville City Council.
The measure, which passed with a 5-3 vote, cites public safety concerns caused by “unreasonably limiting the imposition of cash bail for violent offenders, unreasonably limiting police officer discretion to make arrests, imposing unreasonable police certification and decertification standards, and mandating unreasonable custodial accommodations.”
Council members Benny White, Patrick Kelly and Ian Holzhauer voted against the resolution; Theresa Sullivan abstained.
Councilwoman Jennifer Bruzan Taylor said she asked for the directive because “the number one duty of public officials is public safety.”
The city is not asking to eliminate or overturn the SAFE-T Act, which was designed to overhaul criminal justice practices, Bruzan Taylor stressed. “We’re just asking for a discussion of some changes,” she said.
During comments from the public, state Rep. Anne Stava-Murray, D-Naperville, told the council she voted for the original bill as well as trailer legislation.
“We have fine-tuned and continue to consider fine-tuning alongside all major stakeholders, including multiple groups with relevant experiences, such as the chiefs of police,” she said.
The city’s resolution claims the act is unreasonable on many accounts but Stave-Murray said she believed the goal was to push for law enforcement approaches that rely on facts.
“I would counter the situation in our country has been unreasonable, and we need data-driven, future-thinking policies at our state level,” Stava-Murray said.
White said he’d prefer the city to take a more proactive approach to spurring the conversation. Words like “unreasonable” appear to assess blame and could discourage discussion of positive changes, which is the resolution’s goal, he said.
Mayor Steve Chirico said he remains disenchanted with how the law was passed last year, with the General Assembly approving it early in the morning without any debate or witnesses.
“I think any bill that is good for our state should be considerably more transparent than that,” Chirico said.
While improvements have been made, he’s spoken with leaders in law enforcement and the state’s attorney office who expressed “real concerns” about what the act does, he said.
Kelly was opposed to taking any action, saying he doesn’t like resolutions telling other governmental bodies what to do. “We should be focusing on what we can do as a city,” he said.
In addition to Chirico, Bruzan Taylor and Gustin, council members Patty Gustin, Paul Hinterlong and Paul Leong voted in favor of the measure.