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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 7, 2007

Governor Blagojevich signs new laws to improve public safety and protect law enforcement agencies

SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that helps law enforcement agencies better protect Illinoisans.  Senate Bill 585, Senate Bill 639 and Senate Bill 1265, allow law enforcement agencies to equip their bicycles with sirens, prohibit vehicles from having tainted or clear license plate covers and increase penalties for individuals who try to bypass interlock devices.
 
“We must do everything we can to keep Illinoisans and the people who protect them safe.  These new laws will help ensure that law enforcement officers have the tools necessary to continue making Illinois a safe place to live and raise families,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
 
Gov. Blagojevich signed the bills as the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police met for their annual summer training conference in Rosemont, Illinois.  Police chiefs from around the state are gathering at the conference for association meetings, training, presentations and awards.
 
“We appreciate Governor Blagojevich’s support of law enforcement and everything he’s done for us so far,” said Larry Burnson, President, Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.  “We’re excited that the Governor continued to show his support by signing these important pieces of legislation.”
 
“I would like to thank Governor Blagojevich for recognizing the importance of this legislation and continuing to promote public safety initiatives to better protect the citizens of Illinois,” said Larry Trent, Director, Illinois State Police.
 
Senate Bill 585, sponsored by State Sen. John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and State Rep. Careen M Gordon  (D-Coal City), increases penalties for individuals who try to bypass interlock devices. Interlock devices are installed on cars of DUI offenders and require the driver to pass a Blood Alcohol Content test by blowing into the device.  
 
Senate Bill 639, sponsored by State Sen. James DeLeo (D-Chicago) and State Rep. Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago), permits police and fire departments to equip their bicycles with sirens. 
 
Senate Bill 1265, sponsored by State Sen. Antonio “Tony” Munoz (D-Chicago) and State Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville), prohibits vehicles from having tinted or clear license plate covers helping law enforcement officers and members of the community to better read license plate numbers. 
 
“This bill provides law enforcement officials with the additional resources needed to ensure the safety of our communities,” said State Rep. Jay Hoffman.  “This legislation will help to improve the public safety initiatives of this state.”
 
Since taking office, Gov. Blagojevich been committed to increasing public safety initiatives in Illinois.  Some innovative measures implemented by the Governor include: 
  • Funding the purchase and maintenance of 500 new police cars over the next year for State and local police departments;
  • Increasing funding for DNA testing by $7.3 million over the last two years and funded construction of the Prairie State DNA Institute so Illinois no longer needs to outsource cases, making the turnaround time to process samples faster and reducing the error rate;
  • Helping to fund the purchase of 30 in-car video cameras for a Chicago Police Department pilot program;
  • Increasing penalties for impersonating a police officer to 3-7 years in jail and up to 4 years probation;
  • Expanding State Police Web site to help parents protect kids against violent offenders, and;
  • Implementing the Adam Walsh Child Protection Safety Act of 2006 across Illinois, allowing private schools to have access to national criminal records and information of potential employees.
SB 585 goes into effect January 1, 2008; while SB 639 and SB 1265 go into effect immediately.          


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