Page 6 - February 2021
P. 6

And when you do take action, you have to be extremely cognizant that your body camera is on. And then you can’t watch the body- cam footage when you write your report.
I refer you to the mayor’s conversation with me on May 29. One of the topics was civil liability and the money that the City pays out. And I remember her words as clear as day.
“John, your officers got to write better paper. Their stories are not matching their body cams, and it’s costing us money. So if I could say anything, I would suggest that they definitely take their time and don’t lie. Write what happened, and make sure it match- es what’s on the body cam.”
Well, with this legislation you’ve just opened up even more li- ability because now officers can’t even review body-cam footage for any report they make. How does that make any sense?
In good faith, and with the Law Enforcement Coalition’s coop- eration, we were able to discuss the decertification aspect of the bill, some of the concerns that we knew were out there and what could we do as a group to address these concerns without totally changing law enforcement in this state. And that’s exactly what we did. We expanded the list of violations, laws and statutes that could lead to decertify an officer.
We agreed that there needed to be a process. Unfortunately, that was another thing that was changed at the last minute from what we agreed upon. The decertification process was supposed to be pretty clear. It was going to be an investigation on a local level first, and that complaint would have to be sustained. Then, we would have the grievance process with an arbitration ruling. The arbitrator would have to uphold that sustained complaint for it to be referred to the decertification board for an officer to be decertified. Because we’re talking about the death penalty for an officer’s career if decertification is sustained.
If members have to risk the death penalty, and/or they take
away their qualified immunity as they tried to do with a previous version of HB3653 that didn’t make it, they will see how “reform” fails.
To think that there are more than 2,500 Chicago Police Officers who can leave tomorrow and collect a pension check, when we already have 1,200 more that are collecting and not paying in. You add more to that list, and it’s going to put such a burden on an already underfunded pension system.
The mayor’s response when we brought that concern to her was, “I find it surprising that you’re coming to me with such a se- rious concern in the 11th hour. Maybe you’ll learn that burning bridges isn’t what’s best for your members.”
“Shut your mouth” is basically her reply. Because she couldn’t really care less if that pension fund collapses. It’s all about win- ning in her mind and getting her way no matter what. Whatever the cost is irrelevant.
And this legislation will spill over into our contract negotia- tions. We have four negotiating sessions coming up during the first two weeks of February. We are focusing on two simple points. We will continue to negotiate on cursory issues. The focus is to unwind in part, or in whole, HB3653. It allows for anonymous complaints, which is absolutely a non-starter for us, but it did give the City one of the major components they were looking for in negotiations.
So I told the City’s lawyers that if they are so certain that that law is going to stay in the way it is, just give me the name of an arbitrator right now. We will go to arbitration tomorrow morning if that law is going to stay.
But they wouldn’t even call my bluff on that because they know it’s so disastrous. So we will watch the legislation until the spring session is done and see where it goes. Maybe legislators will even- tually realize that the bill they passed will do nothing to reform the criminal justice system in Illinois.

   4   5   6   7   8