All Posts By

Christan Neff

School Safety

By | Safety Tips | No Comments
Seldom do we hear stories where crime and school violence are stopped before anyone gets hurt. One such incident took place earlier this year on May 16th at Dixon High School in Lee County. The heroic efforts of Dixon School Resource Officer, Mark Dallas, stopped tragedy from taking place. Soon after 8:00 a.m., a former student opened fire near the school auditorium. Officer Dallas rushed to the area, which led to a foot chase. Officer Dallas and the suspect exchanged gunfire, and ultimately, Dallas shot and disabled the gunman. There is no doubt that Officer Dallas put his life on the line and saved the lives of children and faculty at the school. This heroic feat is yet another example of bravery and how our men and women in uniform protect lives every day. Our children represent our society’s most important assets and the future of our communities. Far too often we hear terrifying news concerning the loss of life or injury to children and school staffers in the wake of school violence. For this reason, school safety is among the highest priorities in Illinois and throughout the country. Here are some other ways we can potentially avoid and resolve school tragedies:
  • Recognize that all communities have different needs in securing their schools.
  • Implement national school safety guidelines that establish standards and best practices among schools.
  • Share information with all stakeholders related to threats and crimes committed on school property.
  • Increase the number of highly trained School Resource Officers with a commitment to law enforcement and security.
  • Utilize available technologies, including enhanced direct notification systems to E911 emergency service access points and using these technologies to enable law enforcement to improve response time and protect students during an active shooter event.
  • Require emergency systems to use video, computer software, voice and data communications to alert first responders and other vested stakeholders
Schools are a vital part of our community infrastructure and should be protected at least as well as government buildings. Enhancing the physical security of our schools and improving incident response are vital, because each classroom is to be considered protected space for our children.

Look Before You Lock

By | Safety Tips | No Comments
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that heatstroke is one of the leading causes of non-crash-related fatalities among children. Heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees and the thermoregulatory system is overwhelmed. A core body temperature of about 107 degrees is lethal. Even great parents and caregivers can forget a child in the back seat. In any case, it is important to understand children are more vulnerable to heatstroke than adults. It is never okay to leave a child alone in or around a car for any reason. NHTSA Recommendations:
  1. Make it a habit of looking in the back seat before you lock the car
  2. Keep your car locked and your keys out of reach, because nearly 3 in 10 heatstroke deaths happen when an unattended child gains access to a vehicle
  3. Take-action if you notice a child alone in a car! Protecting children is everyone’s business
  4. Heatstroke can happen at any time of year and in any weather condition. Outside temperature in the mid-60s can cause the inside temperature of a car to rise above 110 degrees Fahrenheit through the “Greenhouse Effect.” The interior temperature can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 10 minutes.
Your Illinois Sheriffs’ Association encourages you to adopt NHTSA’s “Look Before You Lock” suggestions to help prevent accidental heatstroke.

Proposed Laws for 2018

By | Legislation | No Comments

From the Director’s Desk: The 2018 Spring Session has adjourned and considering the number of issues facing law enforcement, your Illinois Sheriffs’ Association ended up fairly well. Unfortunately, there is considerable animosity toward law enforcement in the public and within the walls of the Capitol. Collectively, we must take it upon all of us to share and promote all of the positive things that law enforcement does EVERY day in and around the communities that we are sworn to serve and protect.

The ISA is developing programs and activities to help. However, this is not something that any of us can do by ourselves. The Board and Staff would welcome your ideas, input, suggestions and financial support to help improve the climate that we find ourselves in. Law enforcement is a noble profession and one that should be in partnership with the communities we serve and I believe that while there is always room for improvement, it is certainly something of which we should be proud. I have provided a summary of a few of the bills that have passed and await action from the Governor. It is a pleasure and privilege to serve you and I hope you won’t hesitate to contact us with your comments or suggestions.

Jim Kaitschuk Executive Director

HB 2354-Rep Willis/Sen Morrison: Creates the Firearms Restraining Order Act Provides that a petitioner may request an emergency firearms restraining order by filing an affidavit or verified pleading alleging that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing personal injury to himself, herself, or another by having in his or her custody or control, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm. Provides that the petitioner may be a family member of the respondent or a law enforcement officer, who files a petition alleging that the respondent poses a danger of causing personal injury to himself, herself, or another by having in his or her custody or control, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm. Provides that if the court issues the order, the respondent must: (1) refrain from having in his or her custody or control, purchasing, possessing, or receiving additional firearms for the duration of the order; and (2) turn over to the local law enforcement agency any firearm, Firearm Owner’s Identification Card, or concealed carry license in his or her possession. Provides that a respondent whose Firearm Owner’s Identification Card has been revoked may petition the court to transfer the respondent’s firearm to a person who is lawfully able to possess the firearm if the person does not reside at the same address as the respondent. HB 4469-Rep Stratton/Sen Aquino Voting in Jails Upon discharge of a person who is eligible to vote from a county jail, the county jail shall provide the person with a voter registration application. Each election authority shall collaborate with the county jail within the jurisdiction of the election authority to facilitate voter registration for voters eligible to vote in that county who are confined or detained in the county jail. Effective January 2020. HB 4594-Rep. Andersson/Sen Mulroe Creates the Criminal and Traffic Assessment Act Provides a minimum fine is $25/$75. Provides when any defendant is convicted, pleads guilty, or placed on court supervision for a violation of a law or local ordinance, the court shall order one schedule of assessments in the case plus any conditional assessment applicable to a conviction in the case, as set forth in the Act, for the defendant to pay in addition to any fine, restitution, or forfeiture ordered by the court. Provides all money collected by the clerk of the court based on the schedules or conditional assessments shall be remitted to the appropriate treasurer as directed in the Act. Provides the treasurers shall deposit the money as indicated in the ordered schedule or conditional assessment. Amends the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963. Provides that a defendant may petition the court for full or partial waiver of court assessments imposed under the Criminal and Traffic Assessment Act. Provides the court shall grant a full or partial waiver of court assessments if specified conditions are met. Makes corresponding and conforming changes to various Acts and Codes. Repeals various laws. Effective July 1, 2019, except for certain provisions that are effective July 1, 2018. HB 5231-Rep. Stewart/Sen Cullerton FOID/Mental Health Provides that an employer of an officer shall not make possession of a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card a condition of continued employment if the officer’s Firearm Owner’s Identification Card is revoked or seized because the officer has been a patient of a mental health facility and the officer has not been determined to pose a clear and present danger to himself, herself, or others as determined by a physician, clinical psychologist, or qualified examiner. Effective immediately. SB 34-Sen Cullerton/Rep. Hernandez Creates the Voices of Immigrant Communities Empowering Survivors (VOICES) Act Provides that certifying officials shall: (1) respond to requests for completion of certification forms received by the agency; and (2) make information regarding the agency’s procedures for certification requests publicly available for victims of qualifying criminal activity and their representatives. Provides that upon receiving a request for completion of a certification form, a certifying official shall complete the certification form and provide it to the requesting person, unless the certifying official, after a good faith inquiry, cannot determine that the applicant is a victim of qualifying criminal activity, in which case the certifying official shall provide written notice to the person or the person’s representative that the official is declining to complete the form. SB 337-Sen Harmon/Rep Willis Creates the Combating Illegal Gun Trafficking Act & Creates the Firearm Dealer License Certification Act Provides that each Federal Firearms Licensee shall file with the Department of State Police a copy of its license, together with a sworn affidavit indicating that the license presented is in fact its license and that the license is valid. SB 2925-Sen Lightford/Rep. Harper SRO Training Provides that the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board shall develop or approve a course for school resource officers. Provides that the school resource officer course shall be developed within one year of the amendatory Act and shall be created in consultation with organizations demonstrating expertise and or experience in the areas of youth and adolescent developmental issues, educational administrative issues, prevention of child abuse and exploitation, youth mental health treatment, and juvenile advocacy. Provides that the Board shall develop a process allowing law enforcement agencies to request a waiver of this training requirement for any specific individual assigned as a school resource officer. Amends the School Code.

Statutory & Elective Training

By | Training | No Comments
The numbers are startling. The dangers are well known. Law enforcement and corrections are among the most dangerous jobs in America. During the 37th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service, recently held during May 2018 at the Capitol, the president shared an earnest message to the children of officers killed during duty stating, “Your moms and dads were among the bravest Americans to ever live.” When our deputies and peace officers respond to calls for help, they are faced with conditions that none of us envy. With the loving support of their families, these men and women approach each day prepared, but not knowing what types of crime or threats they may face. The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association provides the necessary training to make sure our Sheriffs and Deputies for better public safety.

Holiday Safety Tips

By | Safety Tips | No Comments

While out and about

  • Do not drink and drive!
  • Make sure purses and wallets are secure on your person.
  • Limit the number of credit cards and cash carried with you.
  • Do not leave valuable items visible – store them in the trunk.
  • Park in areas where there is adequate lighting.
  • Remain aware of your surroundings and refrain from shopping alone.
  • Have keys ready before getting to your car.
  • Report suspicious people or activity to law enforcement immediately!

Preparing home before vacation travel

  • Make sure all doors and windows are locked, even if you have an alarm system.
  • Activate alarm system and motion detectors when you leave home.
  • Make arrangements to hold mail and newspaper delivery.
  • Ask a trusted friend or neighbor to tend to your home during your absence.

The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association wishes you a Safe and Happy Holidays!

Travel Safety Tips

By | Safety Tips | No Comments
  • Do not advertise your absence.
  • Do your homework and have well-defined plans and use reliable travel resources.
  • Share your daily travel plans and emergency contact information with select people.
  • Contact home on a regularly scheduled basis.
  • Restrict cash and valuables in your possession and keep them properly concealed.
  • Carry no more than two credit cards.
  • Properly list and label any medications and make certain they are secure and accessible.
  • Be mindful of crime areas like restrooms, baggage claim, check-in, shuttles, curbside, etc.
  • Wait until your return before sharing travel experiences through social media.
  • If possible, stay with your travel partner or group during daily activities.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and avoid unlit or desolate areas.
  • Limit the amount of personal information shared with strangers.

                                                In case of Emergency: Dial 911

New Laws for 2017

By | Legislation | No Comments

Nearly 200 new laws took effect in January 2017, which cover many topics, including law enforcement and our youth. The following are a few examples of new laws that that impact criminal justice process and procedure.

  • There is a new requirement for Illinois jails to accept cash for those posting bail. The new law was inspired by a Rockford-area resident whose son was arrested, yet the father could not post bail due to the credit card machine being out of order at the time. Subsequently, the son had to spend the weekend in jail.
  • The Illinois statute of limitations is extended from two years to five years for wrongful death lawsuits. This has been referred to as “Molly’s Law,” after Molly Young, a Carbondale resident was found shot to death in 2012 in her ex-boyfriend’s apartment. A special prosecutor could not determine whether the exact cause of death and it took too long to produce public records for the father to take civil action.
  • Anyone younger than 15 cannot be interrogated without an attorney present during the investigation of serious crimes. The age was previously 13.
  • Also, people charged or arrested for an incident occurring before their 18th birthday can petition the court to expunge the records. The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission pushed for the changes, saying mistakes made as a youth can limit access to employment, housing and education.

The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association continues to monitor and promote laws that help keep families safe and create positive change.

Is Your Home Safe

By | Safety Tips | No Comments

We know that keeping your family and property safe are among your biggest priorities. The annual rate for burglary in Illinois is about 50,000 cases per year with another near 200,000 relating to theft in general.

Here are some practical ways to securing your home and family against break-ins and other property crime.

  • Make sure all doors and windows are locked
  • Keep the inside and outside of your home well-lit with motion sensor lights and/or lights running off timers when you are not at home
  • Use an active, working alarm while you are away or at sleep
  • Use signs outside the house that let burglars know the home is protected by an alarm system
  • Keep your valuables out of sight
  • Make sure all drapes and blinds closed, especially when away at work or on vacation
  • Keep ladders and other tools that can be used by burglars stored away
  • Let your trusted neighbors know when you will be away on vacation so they can keep an eye on your home and property

We urge you to take note of these helpful tips. And remember, if you see any suspicious activity either at your home or someone else’s, do not hesitate to call 911.