Facilitating Police Reforms

Qualified Immunity

The Northwest Municipal Conference (NWMC) is pleased that state lawmakers removed provisions limiting qualified and tort immunities for police officers and communities. The goal of removing qualified immunity is the hope is that it will be easier to hold officers and their employers accountable; however, changing immunity standards will add legal and likely insurance costs. With the recent policing reforms contained in House Bill 3653 amended peace officer certification process, enhanced training and body camera requirements and other measures for police accountability, lawmakers should delay the imprecise and costly changes to qualified and tort immunity protections for local government would.

State Funding

New requirements for enhanced training and body cameras (which include both the equipment purchase and storage of massive amounts of data) did not include new financial assistance for local governments to implement.  These mandates will place a burden on communities struggling to recover during the post-COVID economy.  Existing programs such as the Law Enforcement Camera Grant Act and the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board will require additional funding to meet the new demands. Municipalities are responding to a global pandemic that has severely reduced local revenue and blocked access to necessary additional resources. Consequently, lawmakers should pursue funding for policing mandates or threaten the quality of local services and put additional pressure on strained taxpayers.