SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - A police and criminal justice reform bill proposed by the Illinois Black Caucus, aimed to rid the state of what it calls systemic racism, has shocked law enforcement officials across the state.
Jack Campbell, Sangamon County Sheriff, said there are many aspects of this bill that are concerning.
"This is as problematic of legislation I've seen in my lifetime, and certainly in my career in law enforcement," Campbell said. "I'm a third generation deputy here in Sangamon County. My father and great uncle would be devastated to see what happened."
In a span of eight hours, this bill was passed by both the Senate and the House.
"It happened at 3 a.m. because people were tired," Campbell said. "Some people had let down their guard. Very bad decisions get made at three in the morning."
Dustin Heuerman, the sheriff of Champaign County, said the swift passage of this bill is what left many law enforcement officials feeling unsettled.
"I'm not 100 percent opposed to the things in this bill; I'm opposed to the way it was passed," Heuerman said. "It took me four hours Wednesday morning to just skim the bill."
According to Campbell, the bill passed by the Illinois General Assembly works in favor of criminals.
"It's just making excuses for people to commit crimes and get out of it," Campbell said. "Rather than hold them accountable, which is all law enforcement and the criminal justice system is trying to do."
Campbell said this bill is troubling fiscally and even puts law enforcement in danger.
"There are many, many unfunded mandates in this bill. The most expensive one is going to be body cameras" Campbell said. "They put our deputies, our officers in danger by putting restrictions on no-knock search warrants. We have to have that in our tool belt. We have to have the element of surprise when we go to serve a high-risk warrant."
Mike Walker, sheriff of DeWitt County, said the bill also puts the community at risk.
"My thought was, how could anybody, Republican or Democrat, look at this and think this is going to be good for our communities," Walker said.
Ultimately, officials say it's not about any one agenda, but it will take working together to truly enact change.
"Any law enforcement administrator that has had any time on the job, that can sit and look at you or me and honestly say the police officers in the state of Illinois, the police officers in the country are doing everything perfectly ... they are living in their own world," Walker said. "There's always room for improvement."
No matter what changes law enforcement may have to adapt to, Campbell said one thing that will remain constant is their duty to protect and serve their community.
"We're going to get up tomorrow, and the next day and the next day and do our job," Campbell said. "We put the community first. We will be there every shift, every day."