Legislative Update by Keith Turney, 2nd VP ILFOP State Board > ILFOP

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, the sharks are once again circling.  Last year we spent a considerable amount of political energy and capital working with the various special interest groups to pass the Police and Community Relations Improvement Act, i.e.; Police Reform.  It wasn’t a perfect bill, by any means, however it addressed many of the concerns that came about from incidents in Ferguson, New York and Baltimore. As anyone involved in negotiations will tell you, a deal struck where neither side is completely satisfied is usually a good deal.  Such was the case in Police Reform of 2015.

I don’t know if the legislature has short memories or small minds, but as we entered the 2016 legislative session, many of the same reform bills that were introduced in 2015 reappeared in 2016.  Now maybe the pressure of the election cycle altered their state of reality, but frankly, their actions have many of us bewildered.  Needless to say, our lobbyists have been busy reminding many people that we settled most of these issues last year.  Of course, last year we didn’t have the Laquan McDonald situation which has brought a national spotlight upon Chicago and all of Illinois. 

So, we have a governor who wants to eliminate collective bargaining and a large city administration wrongly blaming a police contract for a delayed response to a tragic event.  There still remains the dark cloud over pensions as many believe that public employee pensions are the root cause of governmental dysfunction.  And, there is a call for more police reform. Oh; and there is a lack of qualified applicants applying for police jobs.

One real positive outcome of the police reform of 2015 was the formation of a Police Professionalism Commission which is tasked with reviewing police training and how we certify/license police officers here in Illinois.  What is exceptional about this commission is that it is comprised of several FOP leaders along with representatives from the Sheriff’s and Chief’s of Police Associations, the PBPA and the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board.  This commission has given us an avenue to discuss the future of policing here in Illinois with representatives from the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives.  This interaction has put a lid on many of the reforms introduced this year as we remind our legislators that the 2015 reforms have just taken affect and they need time to become ingrained in policing here in Illinois.   

What can you do?  In politics as in the real world, it’s all about relationships.  Make sure you establish a relationship with your local senators and representatives.  They value your input, but don’t let them off the hook lightly.  They will all tell you: “I love you guys (and girls)”  “I have the utmost respect for the thankless job you do” Great accolades, that frankly we hear all the time; but you need to pin them down to the real issues that affect your life.  What is their position on collective bargaining?  Do they think your pension is too generous?  What do they think about police reform?  And be prepared to act when called upon. It’s not yet time for a call to action, but soon it will be on one issue or another and at that time we will need you to make that contact. It’s your future that is at stake. 

About the Author:  Keith Turney is the Second Vice President of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police and a member of the Illinois Police Professionalism Commission and is a past board member of the Illinois Law enforcement Training and Standards Board.  Keith is employed as a Staff Representative for the Illinois FOP Labor Council and spent thirty-one years as a Joliet Police Officer retiring at the rank of Commander.    .  

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Legislative Committee

Your Legislative Committee

Keith Turney, Chair (Joliet)

Todd Adkisson, (Troopers)

Kevin Farrell, (Cook County)

Kevin Graham, (Chicago)

Tom Lonergan, (Chicago)

Tom McDonagh, (Chicago)

Greg Johnson, (IDOC)

Terry Trueblood(Sec. of State)

David Wickster, (Oak Park)

Chris Southwood, (IL State Lodge President)