Joliet committee to take up Progressives’ proposal for police

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Two Joliet City Council committees plan to take up proposals for police reform next week.

The meeting is being planned as Will County Progressives ratchet up their calls for the city to implement a proposal for changes they presented weeks ago.

The proposals include shifting half of the police department budget to community services, particularly schools and infrastructure.

The proposals also call for mandatory police body cameras, which the city has been exploring for months, and a police oversight commission, which Mayor Bob O’Dekirk had recently suggested.

But Will County Progressives Chairwoman Suzanna Ibarra has repeatedly said Joliet has been slow to act.

“These demands overnight are passed in other cities. What is wrong with Joliet?” Ibarra asked at a Tuesday council meeting.

She spoke during a public forum period in which she and others, including Eric Lurry’s family members and supporters, criticized police for arrests at recent protests over Lurry’s death after his arrest during a drug investigation.

Putting the reform proposals on a committee agenda was discussed Thursday at a Land Use and Legislative Committee meeting.

“We need to get working on police reform and body cameras,” said council member Jan Quillman, who heads the council’s Public Safety Committee.

Quillman and Morris agreed to call a joint meeting next week, probably Wednesday or Thursday, of the public safety and land use and legislative committees. Morris heads the other
committee.

Other proposals on the Progressives’ list include:

• Increased public access to disciplinary records showing use of force by individual police officers.

• Establishing a team of mental health professionals and social workers as first responders instead of police for suicide intervention, overdoses and mental health crises.

• Decriminalization of certain offenses including loitering and disturbing the peace

• Greater screening of police with military experience.

• A three-strike policy that would terminate any officer with three suspensions of three days or more.

The Public Safety Committee has been exploring body cameras for about a year.

Costs have been cited as a major issue.

Quillman on Thursday suggested that the city transfer money now planned for library improvements to body cameras, a suggestion made by Lurry family supporters at the Tuesday council meeting.

The $6.5 million being contributed by the city for the Joliet Public Library downtown branch, however, is being funded with a state grant specifically for the library improvements, which makes it unlikely that the city could divert the money for another use.

26-Delivered

via | The Herald-News

July 25, 2020 at 07:25AM

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