Why we support the “immigration bill”

Don’t believe a lot of what you’re hearing about the Illinois Trust Act, which Governor Rauner will sign into law Monday (SB 31 HA3).

It will not make Illinois a “sanctuary state.” Not even close, despite what some critics and headlines are saying. So don’t worry, it’s not happening. We are pleased that Governor Rauner will sign the bill next Monday.

There are solid, rational reasons the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police supports the bill.  What does the bill do and not do? The Illinois Business Immigration Coalition explains it well:

What the Illinois Trust Act does:

  • State and local police would not [stop,] arrest or hold a person based solely on immigration status.
  • State and local police honor ICE detainers sanctioned by a judge.
  • State and local police are allowed to communicate with federal agents​, and fully compliant with federal statutory requirements.

What it does not do:

  • SB 31 does NOT create “safe” zones such as hospitals and schools
  • SB 31 does NOT create “sanctuary” state or municipalities
  • SB 31 does NOT prohibit law enforcement communications with federal agents

According to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the bill was crafted and championed by the Campaign for a Welcoming Illinois, a broad coalition of community, labor and policy organizations largely led by immigrant community members. This coalition engaged more 85 organizations and 14,000 individuals throughout the state in education and advocacy events from trips to Springfield, rallies, press conferences, meetings with elected officials and more, throughout the past eight months to advocate for the TRUST Act.

From the IBIC, about why it’s a good law: “​The core duty of local police is community safety​,​ not federal immigration enforcement. Immigrants are more likely to report crimes and ​come forward as​ witnesses to crimes when they are not afraid. SB 31 promotes trust between immigrants and local police, which strengthens community safety for all Illinois residents.”

So for the Illinois Chiefs, the bill mostly puts into law what is current practice for local police departments: They don’t pull people over only to check their immigration status. They do respond to calls for service when people are the victims of crime or involved in an accident. They do want Illinois residents to call local police if someone is battered, in an accident, or burglarized.

According to the IBIC, 174 business leaders support the bill and you can CLICK HERE to get the list. 

Also, 179 faith leaders support the bill and you can get that list HERE.

Earlier versions of this bill were much worse than the final version – troublesome ideas like prohibiting informal communication between ICE and local law enforcement, for example. We were the first law enforcement organization to accept reasonable compromises and support the bill. Senate President John Cullerton thanked us for that, and we were grateful that he worked with us and others on the bill.

We released a statement about this issue back in March, and the principles in that statement made their way into the law.

Wondering what to say

I’ve been on Facebook a lot in the past two months, but not here on the blog. Maybe I’ve been too careful, worrying about saying the wrong thing, or waiting to say the perfect thing. As if that’s possible in this climate.
I think I need to engage more frequently, wrong or not.
Law enforcement needs strong voices, clear voices, leadership.
I’m going to do my best.
But feel free to look at my Facebook posts, because I haven’t been silent. Not at all.

Dallas and dueling statistics

About 40 people from the Illinois NAACP and Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police gathered in Bloomington on May 10, 2016, to advance the dialogue between law enforcement and black leaders.
About 40 people from the Illinois NAACP and Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police gathered in Bloomington on May 10, 2016, to advance the dialogue between law enforcement and black leaders.

THE FEW DAYS AFTER the shooting of police officers in Dallas on July 7, followed by the Baton Rouge shooting ten days later, were unlike any I’ve had as association executive director. We were flooded with media calls, and our Board of Officers and other members stepped up to offer their perspectives. President Steven Casstevens issued a statement of solidarity with our brothers and sisters in law enforcement throughout the country, with the reminder that “we must continue to build trust [in our communities], most often out of the spotlight and out of the news.”

What struck me more than anything was the flood of statistics pouring out. Actually, not so much the stats, but how people were spinning them. It felt to law enforcement that reporters and critics were eager to spread a negative narrative that the police target black people. We know that’s not true, but it’s hard to battle this tsunami of oft-repeated falsehoods.

The New York Times and Washington Post published data with evidence to support what we believe.

From the New York Times (July 12, 2016), citing a new study by Roland G. Fryer Jr., professor of economics at Harvard, who examined more than 1,000 shootings in 10 major police departments, in Texas, Florida and California: “[W]hen it comes to the most lethal form of force — police shootings — the study finds no racial bias.”

From the Washington Post (July 11, 2016): “In 2015, the Washington Post launched a real-time database to track fatal police shootings, and the project continues this year. As of Sunday [July 10, 2016], 1,502 people have been shot and killed by on-duty police officers since Jan. 1, 2015. Of them, 732 were white, and 381 were black (and 382 were of another or unknown race).”

Those are facts, and make good talking points:

  • The New York Times found no racial bias in police shootings in a recent study.
  • Cops shoot and kill many more whites than blacks, and nearly all of these shootings are justified.

To those arguments, some immediately say “Yes but…” and then cite other data. The biggest trouble with all of this is that a presentation of dueling data is not going to fix anything. It’s why the Illinois Chiefs’ association has been proactive the past two years in reaching out to the Illinois NAACP and building relationships. We’ve met in Evanston, Bloomington and Springfield, and the conversations have been good. We are learning to trust each other. Watch the Weekly Bulletin and other communications for how we will build upon these conversations.

Chief Terrence Cunningham of Massachusetts, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, said in a webinar for members July 18 that to a certain extent, facts and data no longer matter because the national discussion has become so emotional. Dueling data drives people to their corners, he said, and if that happens we’ll never get to the middle where the real conversations have to happen.

In Illinois, we’re making some positive steps. We are having the right conversations, candid discussions, and we have to continue:

  • Reaching out and building relationships.
  • Implementing programs on community policing and procedural justice. (These are not new concepts, but they still seem new to non-law enforcement community leaders with whom we collaborate.)
  • Letting NAACP and other community leaders know, unequivocally, that we’re interested in building trust and relationships and keeping all of our citizens safe.

That’s what it will take for police to be a source of healing in the communities we serve and protect. What do we all want? Good relationships between police and communities, and we in law enforcement are in this for the long haul.


This is a day when cliches don’t work. They aren’t enough.

I got a one-sentence note from a black friend yesterday who said, “We are in a crisis again.” He was referring to the deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Minnesota.

That was before the Dallas shootings last night. Five police officers killed in the line of duty.

I watched video online yesterday and again this morning, and on the news last light.

I think it’s OK just to be raw for awhile. Overreactions, quick reactions, and public “statements” don’t relieve the swirling pain.


Community can help cops with mental health issues

No question about it. Police are facing more and more mental health issues on the street. They are getting training to do so.

And one mental health professional believes neighbors and communities can help the police do what’s best for all of these people.

Glendale Heights is working with Vision for Change‘s Patricia Doyle to make it happen. It’s innovative and deserves a look.



The problems with speculating and pontificating

Donald Trump evidently earned enough delegates this week to become the nominee  of the Republican Party for president. This means that nearly 100% of the experts and pundits were wrong with their months-long variations of “Trump definitely will flame out .” I was one of them.

Which makes me reflect on how much time and energy we waste on participating in the sport of speculation and predictions. Making bold predictions, disguised as expertise, is easier than thinking, easier than deliberating thoughtfully, easier than solving real problems.

Much of talk television, formerly called news programs, is given to faces of people speculating and pontificating about what today’s news bits mean. This is Fox News. This is CNN. This is MSNBC. Two or four expert faces on the screen, often interrupting one another. It’s embarrassing; it’s irritating; it is also contributing to a polarized citizenry. This is also the “Comments” section on news websites and Facebook. The problem with so much speculation, euphamized as “analysis,” is that there is no accountability and there is no penalty for being wrong. It allows “experts,” defined as anyone on the screen, as well as any citizen who wants to complain about anything or anybody, to be pompous and speak with self-righteous certainty, with no filter. So the speculation enters the public discourse unchecked. These people confirm what my dad often said: “You don’t have to know anything to talk.”

The goal seems to be the appearance of brilliance, sometimes seasoned with outrage or faux outrage. What we are exposed to, unfortunately, is not brilliance, but serial inanities, show after show, Facebook comment after Facebook comment. The power of words remains — “if somebody wants to say it, we’ll give them a voice” — even though the value of those words has diminished significantly.

The great lesson here is that too many people vigorously insist they know what they’re talking about, but they’re often less informed and less on the mark than they purport to be.

That’s a takeoff of Peter Drucker’s famous comment that most people think they know what they’re good at, but they are usually wrong.



You’ll feel better this weekend if you read this 5-27-16

chicago father-daughter dance May2016


NAACP to police: Just smile

Illinois NAACP President Teresa Haley asked her granddaughter what police can do to be more approachable.

“They should just smile,” the girl said. Could it be that simple?

Haley agreed to pose for a “Selfie for Support” in a program sponsored by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. She was smiling. So was the deputy chief with her. And the program got some TV coverage this week on a Chicago TV station.

Teresa Haley, president of the Illinois NAACP, poses with Park Ridge Deputy Chief Lou Jogmen in a “Selfies for Support” promotion. Reporter Craig Wall tells the story on Chicago’s Fox 32.

Related: Obama’s support for law enforcement

Recognizing the administrative staff: just do it

Here’s something that’s not a joke: When I meet someone’s top administrative person, I often say, “You’re the one who actually runs things, aren’t you?” People usually chuckle, but they don’t disagree. They are polite and appropriately deferential — whether it’s a deputy chief or an administrative assistant.

It’s a fact that administrative assistants  have plenty to do with the success of any police department and every chief. So on Administrative Professionals Day today, I want to salute all the administrative staff in the police departments in Illinois.  And I’m pleased to say that our chiefs’ association is attempting to work more closely with the Illinois Law Enforcement Administrative Professionals (Illinois LEAP), which was organized in 1999 and is beginning to expand statewide.

If you’d like more information about this group, go to their website. Katherine Perez of the Hanover Park Police Department is the Membership Committee Chair

History worth remembering

I love old documents, original documents. It’s worth remember what law enforcement leaders were thinking exactly 75 years and one day ago. That’s when our association was incorporated in 1941, and here’s exactly why:

articles of incorporation REASON 4-12-1941.pdf

And just for the record, here’s what the top of the document looked like:

articles of incorporation FRONT cropped 4-12-1941.pdf