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Debate over criminal justice reform shifts from Springfield to McLean County

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BLOOMINGTON (WEEK) - Comprehensive criminal justice reform signed into law last month by Gov. JB Pritzker is prompting a call for the McLean County Board to demonstrate its support for area police.

The Not In Our Town organization, the local NAACP, and YWCA of McLean County released a statement late Monday urging board members reject the measure.

The matter is on the agenda for Tuesday's meeting of the McLean County Board's Justice Committee.

Justice Committee Chairman Chuck Erickson is introducing the resolution that opposes "any further erosion, limitation or constraint on the protections offered to the law enforcement community by the Illinois Qualified Immunity Act."

The sweeping reform bill signed by the governor continues to protect officers from lawsuits, but Erickson said a statement from the county board would "go a long way toward supporting the Sheriff's department and raising the morale of the department."

In a news release, Not In Our Town, NAACP, and YWCA said the resolution, if approved, "displays intransigence and an inability to work with the community to fashion appropriate responses."

The organizations went on to say that "Law enforcement officers deserve support and endorsement but supporting antiquated and discriminatory practices is not how that support and positive relationships are built."

The justice committee meets virtually via YouTube Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. The board's executive committee and full county board would also have to sign off on the resolution for the resolution to gain final approval.

Howard Packowitz

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