Prepared Remarks - President Steven Stelter Sets 3 Goals
Upon Being Sworn In As ILACP President

April 26, 2019

Doubletree Hotel, Oak Brook Illinois

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I want to thank you for being here tonight and I want you to know that I am deeply honored and humbled as I become the 71st President of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.  For the past 70 years, many great law enforcement leaders have forged the path before me and brought this organization to where it is at today.

I have been on the board for the past five years, and I want to thank the presidents I have served with up to this point: Chief Frank Kaminski, Chief Steve Casstevens, Chief Jim Kruger and Chief Brian Fengel.  Watching and learning from them will help me this next year in the way I lead the organization. 

I also want to congratulate the new 3rd Vice President, Chief Lou Jogmen from Highland Park, as the newest member of the Board of Officers. [And I want to give a shoutout to one of our board members, Chief Jim Black of Crystal Lake, for the way they handled the investigation of the murder of that five-year-old boy and how they brought people to justice.]

I began my law enforcement career back in 1979 making $14,995 a year. I was making the big bucks then.  If you told me that one day I would be here tonight as the 71st President of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, I would have said you were crazy.  It is only by the grace of the good Lord that I am here tonight.

As leaders in law enforcement, we find ourselves in a time of accelerating change and increasing disruption.  Being a leader is never easy, yet we strive to provide the best path while collaborating with internal and external forces that are constantly evolving.  We must be bold and courageous as we lead and, in an age of disruption, we must be the disrupters of mediocrity and the status quo.

Law enforcement has become so complex… expectations of police officers are extremely demanding.  Today, our officers respond to so many non-criminal type incidents such as mental health issues or situations where people have a feeling of helplessness and feel they have no one else to turn to, so they call 911 for help.  We are expected to be social workers, advisers, counselors…. even psychologists.  We take on these extra duties because police officers care about people. We are the protectors of our communities and feel a calling to do whatever is necessary to remedy a situation for someone in need. 

Law enforcement is continually under scrutiny and many times is unfairly attacked in the media and on the streets.  This creates a serious misunderstanding and can destroy public trust.  In order to combat this, we must police with transparency and accountability so we can build healthy relationships within the communities we serve. 

This year will go fast, as they all do, so I plan on hitting the ground running.  This next year I have three priorities I want to focus on. 

First is the formation of a Firearms Committee.  The individuals on this committee will be the voice for the association when the media or special interest groups are looking for information, statements or personal appearances on radio, TV or various meetings relating to firearms issues.  Firearms are constantly under the microscope, and as an association, we need to educate the public while at the same time be a voice in Springfield when lawmakers try and pass laws that hurt the law-abiding citizen and infringe on our Second Amendment rights, rather than concentrate their efforts on punishing the violators.

Second, we as an association need to continue to do what we can to oppose legislation that will hinder or make performing our jobs difficult.  Our legislative team does a phenomenal job, but they cannot do it alone. They need us to get behind them.  Many times all that is needed is to fill out a witness slip (online) or make a phone call to your local representative or senator’s office.  We all need to do our part.  I hope I can count on you for action in regards to this.

My third priority and most passionate one is the fight against legalizing recreational marijuana.  One year ago, our legislative team was ready to throw in the towel on this issue and work toward negotiating some points of interest for law enforcement.  Today, this bill is far from being passed. We have successfully delayed the passing and now legislators from both sides of the aisle are opposed to the current bill.  We have our feet on the neck of this bill and we need to press down hard to fight and not allow recreational marijuana in this state.  

Senator (Heather) Steans and Representative (Kelly) Cassidy state they want to legalize it because prohibition isn’t working.  Well…. Prohibition isn’t working for prostitution, so are they going to legalize that next?  How about retail theft?  Prohibition isn’t working, so are they going to legalize theft next?  In fact, I challenge anyone to tell me where prohibition is working for any crime.  Just the fact of what legalized marijuana is doing to the children in the states where it is legal should make anyone turn and run from legalizing this.  In trying to pass this bill, the proponents never state any negative affects it has on states; everything is always good.  Well, let me tell you some of the negatives:   

Homeless population increases          

Children being poisoned

College entrances decrease

Dropout rate in schools increase

Job productivity suffers                          

And there is no way to enforce violators

In closing, I just want to say that we often have to take on difficult issues as law enforcement leaders, many times outside of our comfort zones.  But know that I have no problem taking on any issue or fighting any questionable legislation involving the protection and support of all citizens and law enforcement personnel who courageously serve within the State of Illinois.

So, my fellow law enforcement professionals, we cannot afford to be complacent in the myriad of issues that face us in this ever-evolving world of change. It is together that we must continue to be a strong brotherhood of blue.

Thank you and God bless each and every one of you.

Chief Steven Stelter of Westchester serves as the President of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police from April 2019 to April 2020.