New Coalition Forms to Oppose Elimination of Cash Bail

Includes labor, law enforcement groups

March 2, 2020
This press release was distributed in the State Capitol Blue Room today as a joint release from all the organizations mentioned below.

Springfield, Ill.— A new coalition of law enforcement organizations formed today to oppose efforts in the General Assembly to end cash bail. Throughout this year’s legislative session, the Coalition of Public Safety (COPS) will speak with a unified and strong voice on this and other criminal justice issues.

“COPS unequivocally and unanimously oppose eliminating cash bail. Elimination is not the way to make the criminal justice system more equitable, and it is not the way to make our communities safer,” said Jim Kaitschuk, executive director of the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association. “As the General Assembly debates other law enforcement issues this year, COPS will speak with one voice on how it can best help first responders and keep our communities safe.”

Founding members of the COPS include: Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, Illinois Fraternal Order of Police, Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council, Chicago Lodge 7 Fraternal Order of Police, Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association, Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

This session, there has been a renewed push in the General Assembly to follow other states that have recently eliminated cash bail, despite the dangerous incidents that have occurred. Just days after New York ended cash bail, there was a rash of individuals who were arrested. While they were let out awaiting trial, they committed significant crimes again like murder. Since then, crime numbers are up nearly 17 percent.

“There’s a reason doctors don’t regulate pilots and pilots don’t regulate lawyers,” said Sean Smoot, Director and Chief Legal Counsel for PB & PA of Illinois. “Our organizations are on the front lines of the criminal justice system and when issues affecting that system come under consideration we should be involved and at the table.” 

“When the safety of the citizens we spend our careers protecting is put in danger due to failed experimental criminal justice reform initiatives, such as the recent bail reform experiments, it becomes our responsibility to step up. We have to let the public know that their basic civil rights are perceived to be not as important as the civil rights of those who are arrested for having committed criminal acts,” said Kevin Graham, President, Chicago Lodge 7 Fraternal Order of Police.

Ed Wojcicki, the Executive Director for the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police said: “We are very concerned that the voices of victims of crimes are going to be set aside, and that many innocent victims who had the courage to call the police will have to live in fear of offenders being set free and committing more crimes. We have to stand with the victims of crimes.”

"Cash bail is a layer of protection for law-abiding citizens, but it's also an effective way to keep police from having to chase down the same offenders multiple times," said Illinois Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge President Chris Southwood. "Budget cuts have stretched police forces to the limit. So why are we even seriously considering a proposal that adds unnecessary, dangerous duplication to an officer's daily shift?”

"One of the most dangerous duties law enforcement officers face is going after bail jumpers, because those people have graphically demonstrated that they have no respect for our system of laws that protect the public," said Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council Executive Director Shawn Roselieb. "Why would anyone want to make a cop's job more difficult or dangerous than it already is?"