New laws protect law enforcement rights

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation that increases protection for Illinois law enforcement officers. House Bill 162 and House Bill 166 protect the rights of pregnant law enforcement officials and expand the arrest powers of federal agents in Illinois.

“These men and women who risk their lives every day to protect us deserve to be protected themselves,” Blagojevich said. “That’s what these laws do.”

Sean Smoot, treasurer of the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), said: “As an organization, it is our sole mission to provide a voice for every law enforcement official in the state, as well as across the country. We are dedicated to these brave men and women who protect our communities from harm and we are so happy that Governor Blagojevich has joined us in helping keep them safe by signing these very important pieces of legislation,”

House Bill 162, sponsored by state Rep. Timothy Schmitz (R-Batavia) and state Sen. John Millner (R-Carol Stream), gives federal agents the authority to make arrests for all state offenses. The current law allows them to make only felony arrests.

“I am happy the governor has taken this step to give federal agents greater capability to protect Illinois Citizens,” said Sen. Millner. “It is important that we expand protective measures to make Illinois a safer place to live.”

Rep. Schmitz added: “This legislation provides federal officers would foster inter-agency cooperation and make joint federal-state investigations more efficient.”

House Bill 166, sponsored by state Sen. Michael Bond (D-Grayslake) and state Rep. JoAnn Osmond (R-Antioch), allows pregnant female law enforcement officials the opportunity to temporarily transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position during her pregnancy by making it a civil rights violation for employers to refuse such a request.

“I am pleased the governor has taken steps to protect the rights of women,” said Rep. Osmond. “This bill provides a clear understanding of what constitutes a violation of civil rights.”

Sen. Bond added: “Female law enforcement officials already put themselves in harm’s way on a daily basis. This bill will ensure that extra preventative measures are taken to make sure they are kept out of harm’s way for the duration of their pregnancy.”

These laws go into effect Jan. 1, 2008.

from the Aug 7-14, 2007, issue

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