Prepared Testimony

Public Safety and Violence Prevention Task Force

January 21, 2022


  1. ILACP President Mitchell R. Davis III

  2. ILACP Vice President Marc Maton

  3. ILACP Deputy Director Kenny Winslow

Remarks below 

1.   Chief Mitchell R. Davis III

I would like to thank Speaker of the House [Chris] Welch for having the foresight to convene this Public Safety & Violence Prevention Task Force. I would also like to thank the chairpersons,  Representative LaShawn Ford,  Representative Fran Hurley, and all the members of the House of Representatives that make up this Task Force, for the opportunity to come before you today. 

My name is Mitchell Davis. I am the Chief of Police for the Village of Hazel Crest, but today I am honored to be here in my capacity as President of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. Many of us have tirelessly collaborated over the past year and a half to address the demands by members of our communities for reforms in law enforcement. The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to have been a part of that process and we are proud of the work that we have and continue to do. 

We see the formation of this Task Force that specifically focuses on Public Safety and Violence Prevention as a show of commitment to the wholistic quest for equitable quality of life for all Illinoisans. The processes during the development and subsequent amendments to the SAFE-T Act have not been perfect, but they have evolved into a productive collaborative vehicle that has resulted in stakeholders of all kinds coming together and finding common ground. I pray that the application of whatever recommendations that are birthed from this task force are developed and brought to fruition through a similar process, and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police stands ready and eager to be a collaborative partner.

Our communities are up in arms about the current challenges that we are facing related to public safety and violence, and rightfully so. But to find effective solutions, we must first be honest about how we got here. I am sure that most of us are familiar with the quote, “Those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

It is my personal belief that we are where we are today because of many factors. One factor consists of the many systemic societal inequities that have and still exist, both racially and in marginalized communities. Another factor was the defunding of social services programs. Another factor has been the COVID pandemic and its effect on all of us. There are other factors that could be listed, but a factor that I believe to have been a major contributor throughout our history that we need to learn from is how consistently members of our society operate with the “it’s not my problem” mentality in matters that don’t directly affect them.

What do I mean by “it’s not my problem” mentality? Problems with violence and public safety are not new. They have always existed, especially in marginalized communities and communities of color, but far too often members of society that are outside of those communities have been apathetic to this plight. One thing that has shown itself to be true in recent years and has ultimately brought us together today is that turning a blind eye to the challenges in one segment of our society will ultimately result in those challenges spilling over into all parts of our society.

Here is a personal example. I have three sons, ages 32, 31, and 30. All of my sons have attended college, two were college athletes, two are Navy veterans, and one is now a civil engineer. Something that all three of my sons have in common is that in their young lives they have all been beaten by groups of unknown offenders to the point of having to have been hospitalized. One son almost lost his eye, and another son would have been beaten to death had bystanders not intervened. No one has ever been arrested in any of these instances and you never heard about my sons in the news. Why? Because things like this happen in our communities. As sad as they are, they are not surprising. But now that instances like these are becoming commonplace in other communities, there is new a sense of urgency.

Here is a personal observation. In the 1980s and 1990s crack cocaine devastated marginalized communities, and heroin had been in those same communities for decades, but society as a whole looked upon it and said, “It’s not my problem. They are a bunch of drug addicts that should do better for themselves. Just lock them up.” Well, now that opioids and heroin have reached ALL communities, there is now an “opioid crisis” that is a national health crisis that is receiving almost unlimited resources.

Why do I share these stories and opinions? I share them to reinforce my belief that when we ignore the plight of any segment of our UNITED States of America, it eventually becomes the plight of all of us.

Let me take a moment to go back to the “opioid crisis.” While I am absolutely in favor of the attention and resources that it is getting, it is my opinion that for the attention and resources to be equitably distributed it should be titled the “substance abuse” crisis not just the “opioid crisis,” but that is another conversation for another task force. The reason that I bring it up here is to make the point that when looking through an empathetic lens, accountability is not always punitive in nature. Accountability without resources will never result in progress.

Let me make myself perfectly clear. There are predators that absolutely need to be locked up and away from society, and there are people who commit offenses that should require a payment of time behind bars. But the vast majority of people that the criminal justice system encounters will not serve time, or they will ultimately end up back in our communities. We have to systematically evaluate each person and provide the appropriate resources to allow them the opportunity to succeed in our society if we want to get this thing right. We have to find a happy medium for being able to equitably enforce laws without forgetting the countless victims, their families, and lifetime suffering and trauma that they often endure.

Public safety and violence prevention are not a police matter; they are matters for all of us to address. Being pro-good policing should not be a bad thing. Being pro-community should not be a bad thing. There are people in policing that believe that the community shouldn’t have anything to say about what we do in our profession; conversely, there are members of the community that want nothing to do with police officers of any kind. Both sides are entitled to feel the way that they feel, but until we are able to work together in spite of our differences, we will never fully reach our potential in equitably addressing the concerns of public safety and violence in ALL communities. There is a saying that I use that says, “When things are better for everybody, things are better for everybody!” If we keep that in our minds and in our hearts, we can’t go wrong.

With me today are Chief Marc Maton and Chief Kenny Winslow. Chief Maton is the Chief of Police for the Lemont Police Department and is the 3rd Vice President of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police in addition to being the Chair of our Legislative Committee. Chief Winslow is the Chief of Police for the Springfield Police Department and an Executive Board Member of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police in addition to being one of our subject matter experts on bodycams.

Chief Maton will address your question about “What laws need to be changed?” and Chief Winslow and I will address your remaining questions about specific challenges that law enforcement faces. Chief Winslow will give the downstate perspective, and I will give the Cook County perspective.

 2.   Chief Marc Maton

Thank you for convening this forum and inviting our participation. I think the focus on these issues is long overdue.

We see the stories every night about the increasing crime, and probably that’s a big reason we are here today.  Not just here, other cities are experiencing crime, just maybe not to this magnitude.  But crime has not increased across the board.  Just certain mobile invasive crimes against persons. 

What is fueling this wave is anonymity.  Crimes have increased as the likelihood for detection has evaporated. It isn’t just one causal ingredient. Various cultural, law and policy changes over the past two decades have converged to set the stage for certain crimes to be committed without the likelihood of detection.  We saw this begin several years ago when offenders realized they could flee, and cops were not permitted to pursue. Add a stolen vehicle to that equation, and our technology is defeated.  The current health crisis (COVID pandemic) added masking to the anonymity soup.

The crimes that are fueling this new wave are all crimes that are mobile and the risk of detection is low.  Investigations into shootings, robbery, burglary and theft all heavily hinge on the positive identification of the perpetrator.  If committing these serious and invasive crimes against persons is calculated as low risk, no deterrence exists to prevent society from increasing lawlessness.

So, the challenge for police is this: We can’t identify them; if we do, we can’t catch them because they run; if we catch them we can only prove a single property crime, so they are released right away, and the charges are invariably pled down.

We have created a low risk/high reward atmosphere for these crimes.  Our strategy should be to use laws, tactics and technology to defeat the anonymity of crime, and move that risk/reward equation back north of center.  Fear of detection and fear of enforcement need to real in order to reestablish deterrence.


We have a bill in LRB (Legislative Research Bureau) to create a felony for stealing a car on the residential curtilage.  It is an invasive crime and will be similar to Home Invasion and Burglary with its own elements.

  • We need to reintroduce mandatory minimum sentences for carjackings and the discharge of weapons.
  • We need to enhance the penalties for fleeing in a stolen vehicle and for using a stolen vehicle in another crime.
  • We need to expand the technology surveillance infrastructure (license plate readers and cameras) and stop splitting hairs on the use of the technology.  We need the ability to mount the cameras in any public space without bureaucratic interference.
  • We need a COPS-style state program to rebuild our decimated staffing levels across the state.

The 1972 Kansas City Patrol experiment resulted in a new model of policing where cops sat in their cars and moved from dispatched call to call.  Society realized that this was not the paradigm they wanted for American policing and spent the next 50 years and hundreds of millions of dollars in establishing and developing community policing, Problem Oriented Policing, targeted operations.  Now in 2022 we have come full circle, and cops are back in their cars waiting to respond to calls. 

It is not that police leaders don’t know what to do to stop this latest wave of crime.  They do.  But they no longer have the resources, policy and public will in their toolkits to deploy the tactics they have learned over the last 50 years.  They are not lying down; they see media, proposed legislation, and community commentary and think that this role is the expected one: that the community wants a less aggressive approach to policing.

I’ll stop here and turn it over to Chief Winslow to address many of the specific questions you forwarded. 

3. Deputy Director Kenny Winslow (notes)

 [I am Kenny Winslow, chief of police at the Springfield Police Department, from which I am retiring next week and going to work part time for the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.]

The subject matter of this hearing will be on Law Enforcement.  You are expected to present on and answer questions on the following. Below are the notes that Chief Winslow used for his testimony.

  1. What’s working in your communities to combat violence?
    • Aggressive, proactive, constitutional policing is needed to address the rise in crime.  Negative atmosphere, environment, and narrative regarding law enforcement over the past three years has less led to less proactive policing. This has led to increase in retirements, resignations and reluctance to join the field as well as officer “RoD”.
      • Perceptions and perceived lack of support for our mission/officers has led to RoD.
      • Officers are hesitant to take risk. It has led to some just running calls for service and not much more.  “Do nothing, do nothing wrong.  Minimize risk of encounter going sideways.”
      • Impact of 2014 no-quota law. Some officers don’t want to make traffic stops, and the law says you can’t make them.
      • Career changes and officers are leaving for perceived “safer communities with less risk” and “police friendlier states” such as Indiana and Iowa.
    • High bonds would keep violent offenders in jail until trial to prevent retaliatory violence either by them or against them if they are released; a cooling off period and fair sentences would be helpful.
    • Focused Deterrence in Springfield - some positive results
    • Mentoring - some positive results; the need outweighs resources, though.
    • Intervention (Cure Violence Model). Violence interrupters—varying results and reviews. 
    • Parental involvement is needed. Active parents reduce crime.
    • Education/Jobs provide value to individuals.
    • Job training leads to job/career that provides individuals self-value.
    • Technology for law enforcement is expensive but effective.  ALPRs, Shotspotter, NIBIN Technology, Predictive Analytics, red light and speed cameras. They work together as a force multiplier in the development of investigative leads, quick response and crime reduction/prevention.  Helps address anonymity of suspects and overpolicing concerns.
    • Computer and cell phone forensics. Most crimes now have an electronic/computer nexus with evidence. Many departments do not have technology or resources to conduct these types of investigations. It should be easier legally and technologically for law enforcement to have access to this evidence.
  • Specialty Courts: Mental Health, Drug, Veteran and Teen Courts have shown some potential.
    • Accreditation of police agencies at the state and/or federal level (ILEAP and CALEA) help ensure departments are following best practices and creates some commonality among processes and procedures.
    • Community policing and community engagement are means to build trust, relationships and problem solve.
      • CPAs, JPAs (citizen police academies), Teen Academies, Town Halls, PALs, Staff Walks in neighborhoods
      • Open communication with formal and informal leaders
      • Adoption of the NAACP-ILACP Ten Shared Principles and incorporation of them into policy and culture.
      • Establish and define community’s role in crime prevention/reduction.
    • Air operations support (helicopters and drones) is especially working in Cook County and Chicago and could be expanded around the state.
    • UAVs: expanded use of drones for LE and Public Safety.
      • Chula Vista model
  1. What’s not working in violence prevention?
    • Electronic Monitoring: unless it is GPS-monitored and violators have EM revoked for violations, it doesn’t work.
      • Not for those charged with homicides (Cook County).
      • Should not be used on offenders who commit gun crimes. 
      • Geo-fenced GPS is ineffective.  Doesn’t effectively monitor offenders’ movements and activities. If they go “outside the geo-fence,” they become undetectable and have opportunities to reoffend.
    • Violence Interrupters- mixed response/results.  Need to audit program/funding and measure results.  Has to be working relationship with LEAs.  Interrupters have to be “out of the game.”
    • Parole without effective support, resources and monitoring = recidivism.
      • Offenders should not be paroled to our communities without proper support systems, resources and monitoring to ensure best chance to succeed.
    • Inability to identify suspects (see above for more)
      • Invest in technology to help identify offenders and remove anonymity.
      • ALPRs, Crime Cameras, Speed Cameras, facial recognition should all be more readily available. Many communities would need outside funding assistance to get this.
  2. What programs do you have for their community? (Springfield perspective)
    • Focused Deterrence is possible in larger departments
    • Violence Interrupters- questionable results; no real communication between grant recipients and PDs.
    • Mentoring is needed for youth, but the need outweighs available resources.
    • After-school programs- Century 21, faith-based programs, safe locations, etc.
    • Various outreach efforts: The Outlet, Faith-Based Programs, Frontiers International PYD
  3. What kinds of violence are plaguing your communities?
    • Gun violence, robberies, stabbings, domestic batteries, vehicular invasions, MVTs.


  1. What do you need for your communities?
    • Officers need a political win. They need to see that the legislature values law enforcement and the role and mission we carry out in public safety (see recruitment and retention for possible wins).
    • Officers and funding for officers, proactive details, HB to address violence.
    • Aggressive prosecution of violent offenses and fair sentences.
      • No probation for gun crimes—minimum of county time.
      • Funding for prosecutors in some jurisdictions to address caseloads.
    • Enforce conditions of probation and parole—violate/revoke offenders.
    • No parole to communities unless IDOC has verified adequate support system for the offender and closely monitors them.
    • Technology and funding to combat violent crime and help with investigations:
      • ALPRs
      • Unmanned aerial vehicles: drones
      • NIBIN
      • Shotspotter
      • Computer and cellphone forensics
      • Facial recognition- tread lightly or skip.
    • Funding for proactive details w/o overly burdening departments with reporting obligations that deter them from applying.
    • Funding for small departments who utilize part-time officers.  Many only pay $15-$20 per hour and cannot compete with minimum wages being offered at convenience stores, fast food, etc.
      • Risk v. Reward equation
    • Recruiting-Retention efforts (see below).
  2. Any changes to the law that are needed? Marc will address.
    • Bail and bonds and pretrial release: We need to be able to remove people from the streets for a cooling off period to avoid retaliation.
    • All gun crimes (where they were discharged) should be felony violations with no probation. 
    • Illegal possession of firearm is first step in the cycle of violence.  Mandatory county jail time, GPS EM, and treatment (anger management, mental health, mentoring, etc.)
    • Ghost guns: enhance penalties
    • Funding for gun task force
    • Fully automatic converters: enhance penalties for those who illegally take a pistol and make it an automatic weapon.
    • Enhanced penalty for gun crimes involving extended magazines.  Not a crime to possess extended magazines—only when used in the commission of a crime.
    • Vehicle hijackings and car thefts- enhanced punishments; Cook County utilizing search warrant for phones.
    • Fleeing and eluding. No one stops any more, so enhanced penalties are needed.
    • Charge juveniles as adults when appropriate in violent cases.
    • Retail theft rings
    • Catalytic converter thefts-enhance penalties for people who try to sell them illegally.
    • ALPRs funding for all metro areas of the state versus just Chicagoland and Metro East
    • Real-time crime center funding
    • Funding for all of the training now required and for body camera equipment, storage, and additional personnel
  3. Questions of a similar nature.
    • Recruitment and Retention ideas.
      • Provide Tier 1 pension benefits for all officers.
      • Student loan forgiveness for LEOs who work “x” amount of time.
      • No state income tax for law enforcement. Kentucky just passed this.
      • Drop program as a supplemental retirement option.  Would incentivize officers to stay on the job longer keeping expertise and experience in the field.
      • Tuition/Grant Academy Program. In the Missouri model, officers can apply and put themselves through the academy. Departments then recruit from the academy and save time and cost.  Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville offered at one time; unknown if program is still active.
      • Qualified and Tort Immunity Committee resolution is harmful to communities and a barrier to recruitment and retention. We think the state should cease all discussion about ending or limited qualified immunity; this would send a strong message to the LE community.
      • Adopt law enforcement’s language on confidential complaints vs. anonymous complaints in the SAFE-T Act. Anonymous complaints are hard to follow up on and gather additional info. The language about confidential complaints in the decertification section of the SAFE-T Act is acceptable to us.
      • Funding for part-time officer salary enhancements (see #5).


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Ed Wojcicki, ILACP Executive Director
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