Law Enforcement Reacts to SAFE-T Act Changes

Members of Illinois’ law enforcement community are having to reset with less than a month to go before for the implementation of no cash bail statewide. State lawmakers approved changes to the SAFE-T Act Thursday before leaving for the rest of the calendar year. Changes include a list of serious crimes that defendants can be held on before trial. During debate, Republicans pointed out problems they say remain. State Sen. Neil Anderson, R-Andalusia, said the whole thing has been flawed from the beginning.

Democrats said passing amendments to laws is what legislators do. Supporters of ending cash bail say people are innocent until proven guilty and shouldn’t have to languish behind bars because they can’t afford bail. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has yet to sign the changes into law. As of Friday, the amendments had not been advanced to the governor’s desk. Regardless, no cash bail without the amendments begins Jan. 1. Illinois Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Jim Kaitschuk said law enforcement were already gearing up for the Pretrial Fairness Act before the changes lawmakers approved. Adding to the pressures in the final weeks of the year is a lawsuit dozens of state’s attorneys and sheriffs have against the law’s implementation to be heard next week in Kankakee County.