As 2016 kicks off, Chicago has new regulations regarding body cameras to address recent use of force and standardization of police training. Illinois police departments will NOT be required to use body cameras. Officers that do wear body cameras, will have to keep their cameras on during law enforcement activities. They may only turn them off during certain circumstances like, talking to a witness. Intentionally turning off the cameras outside those circumstance could result in a charge of “official misconduct.” So, in other words, a paid vacation with a slap on the wrist.
I understand the police department is a union, and I respect unions, but if I worked in a mail store and I destroyed, stole, verbally and physically assaulted people, I’m quite certain I’d receive a lot more than the same insignificant slap on the wrist or paid time off.
Chicago’s brilliant idea of lowering crime in 2016 is to add 237 new laws to the books. The agency responsible for creating the standards for police officers will host a training program to teach police how to interact with those who are mentally ill. It’s unclear if that will involve training of police officers to handle mentally ill people wielding knives? I realize that no cop could possibly recognize every person afflicted with a mental illness right off the bat. I can only hope that the training of these types of situations includes the ideology that they should do everything within their power to de-escalate the situation to the satisfaction of ALL parties involved, including the mentally ill suspect.
I remember there were a few scenarios last year where police dogs were being left in their cruisers and died. One of the new laws in Illinois is that pet owners could face misdemeanor charges if they’re caught leaving dogs outside during the extreme heat. Anyone remember seeing charges filed, ever, against officers who’ve left their dogs to die in their police cars? Yeah, me either. I know those officers will never forgive themselves and they obviously didn’t do it intentionally, but Illinois residents are now faced with a sentence of up to one year in jail along with being fined $2,500 solely for having an unsupervised pet in their vehicle during extreme weather.
It had looked like the war on drugs was being exposed in Illinois until billionaire lawmakers also added powdered caffeine and powdered alcohol to the increasingly long list of banned substances. In addition, those convicted of making false reports to 911 operators are now going to be held responsible for any costs associated with an emergency response. Does that mean when a 911 center receives calls about legal activities such as a private resident filming on public property, and when that report is escalated to the point of an official encounter, who will be held financially liable for covering the attorney fees of the person who was doing the filming? Will it be the party who made the call(s) to the police? Will it be the 911 operator who sent the officer(s) on a wild goose chase based on an entirely legal activity? Will it be the police department itself for having willfully violated the legal rights of the private party conducting a completely legal activity? Or will the police and justice systems of Illinois fail its citizenry and expect a private party to pay all costs, civil and otherwise, incurred from having the misfortune of being detained and/or arrested for simply conducting an activity that’s entirely legal?
More laws like parking non-electric vehicles in spaces designated for electric vehicles will face a $75 threat of being put in a cage. The use of choke-holds can now be used only when an officer “fears for his life.” I’m sure to some people selling loose cigarettes on a sidewalk will create a “feared for your life” situation which would result in officers being “forced” to choke a person to death. But I guess I’m not some people.
The police state continues to grow via the increasingly predictable creation and implementation of ridiculous new laws designed with the intent of putting even more money into the bottomless pockets of those already afflicted with extreme wealth. If you’ve ever driven in Chicago, you know those bullshit tickets they’re handing out aren’t going towards fixing the roads that continue to deteriorate. Lawmakers decided to create issues to fix that never should have become issues if we’re using the same common sense we used to self-police the games we played as children in your neighborhood schoolyard. It’s widely known that chokeholds are an awful idea. It’s obvious that the act of turning off a body camera during a controversial encounter is intentional. Ultimately, this is the type of change that everyone wants, but should we be grateful they’re changing a law on the rules of when it’s okay to choke someone to death?
When engaging in first amendment protected activities around any police encounters please stay back. Whether a police officer is simply an asshole or an asshole who’s abusing his power, you should always remain calm and respectful.
Is it now safe to say the only way to (hopefully) receive the golden ticket – known as a warning – for making a mistake – whether on the road or a sidewalk – is sucking up to a police officer since tickets are given at their discretion? Please understand I’m not complaining about police officers giving people warnings. I drive like I’m supposed to and I wish everyone else did because I can’t stand bad drivers. I have everything required by law for driving an automobile. I do agree that reckless driving should have consequences, but not with the idea it should be only about how much money can be extracted from them as punishment when there are other options we should be looking at. Let’s take a state-funded community youth center for at-risk youth that’s had its hours of operation significantly reduced due to budget cuts and staff it with those fulfilling mandatory community service; the community service being the result of poor decisions and/or mistakes where there was no harm done. If the person skips out on their community service, then make sure they feel it financially because at that point, they’re willfully harming an entire community in addition to having had a lapse in judgement.
Since four out of the last seven governors of Illinois have been arrested and convicted for corruption so it’s not shocking to see it with police. So cheers to 2016, another year of more laws, extortion and ignored police misconduct.