law enf pub sfty 051922Peoria - A trio of public safety measures were signed into law Tuesday, which will empower crime survivors, protect victims and address the root causes of crime while also helping law enforcement recruit qualified officers.

One new law, formerly House Bill 4736, authorizes the creation and funding of the Co-Responders Pilot Program. The pilot will support police in areas across the state in teaming up with social service agencies to address the root causes of disturbances or crime. Initial programs will launch in Peoria, Springfield, East St. Louis, and Waukegan in the next six months. The new law also creates a grant program to create tip hotlines or other victim and witness resources. 

“Everyone in every zip code should feel comfortable being able to walk down the street,” said State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago). “No matter where you are, who you are or where you live you should deserve to feel comfortable and safe. This measure does that by expanding witness protection and by incorporating the voices and needs of stakeholders and survivors.”

House Bill 3863 was also signed Tuesday. This law addresses the strain put on first responders and the difficulties associated with attracting and retaining officers.  The purpose of this fund is to recognize the challenges and stresses presented by a career in law enforcement and offer retention incentives and recruiting funds to preserve force numbers. 

“Crime is on the rise in all corners of our state, and staffing shortages are hindering police from best protecting their communities,” said State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest). “The laws signed today support the valuable work that law enforcement does every day and every hour and will help make our communities safe.”

Additionally, House Bill 2985, authorizes the creation of a fund to directly pay funeral expenses of children murdered due to gun violence. Previously, families had to pay for these expenses upfront and then apply for reimbursement, placing a financial burden on those most in need of support during a time of tragedy.

“It is necessary that we create a process that financially and emotionally supports grieving Illinois families facing the harsh realities of a child’s death from gun violence,” said Leader Jacqueline Y. Collins. “I am eager to see this relief remove some of the burden of gun violence, and though nothing can take away the pain of losing a loved one to needless crime, I hope to ease the torment with this legislation.”

The measures were signed into law Tuesday and will each take effect immediately.