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HomeIllinois NewsRetired police chief explains why Pritzker's SAFE-T Act is so bad

Retired police chief explains why Pritzker’s SAFE-T Act is so bad

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In an op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times (a very leftist Chicago media source), retired Riverside police chief Tom Weitzel lines out the real issues in the SAFE-T Act that Governor JB Pritzker signed into law, and explains how the law will make dramatic changes in how violent suspects will be given a “free pass”: 

One major reform is that all defendants shall be presumed eligible for pre-trial release. This puts the burden on the state to prove, by “clear and convincing” evidence, that the defendant has committed an offense and poses a real and present threat to public safety.

A second provision requires that suspects must show evidence of willful flight – which means planning or attempting to evade prosecution by concealing oneself — to be considered a flight risk.

In the past, failure to show up for a court appearance was evidence of evasion. But now, judges will not be allowed to take into consideration whether a suspect jumped bail, how many times the suspect failed to show in court, and if there is an active warrant for their arrest.

Third, defendants who are out on electronic monitoring are not considered as having “escaped” until they have been missing for more than 48 hours! This rule is just nothing short of ludicrous and in no way, shape or form enhances public safety.

If an offender cuts off their monitoring bracelet and does not respond to the electronic signal that is sent to them, or is not on the premises when an in-person status check is made by a county sheriff’s officer, the suspect should be considered as “escaped”.

But offenders now get a 48-hour free pass before a judge may issue a warrant for their arrest.

This law also puts a tremendous administrative burden on the average police officer during the arrest and booking process. There are now four additional forms for this process and the flow charts are complicated, time-consuming and do not serve public safety (see them at Pretrial Implementation Task Force).

Read the rest o Weitzel’s op-ed HERE. 

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