Ill. State Rep. files bill to reinstate death penalty for killing a police officer

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 6:31 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2022 at 3:27 AM CST
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MARION, Ill. (KFVS) - One Heartland lawmaker wants to bring back the death penalty in Illinois for anyone convicted of killing a police officer.

State Representative Dave Severin filed House Bill 4746, which would reinstate the option for juries to select the death penalty as punishment for the first-degree murder of all law enforcement officers in Illinois.

“We have got to make a change in the state of Illinois for it to be safer for correctional officers, for police officers and this killing has got to stop,” said Severin.

He felt the need to do something about officers being killed.

“There’s an uptick of course in crime in the state of Illinois, not just in Chicago but throughout the whole state. And then we’ve had not only an increase in crime but an increase in killing of cops in the state of Illinois,” said Severin.

Severin says this is not a political party bill.

“We felt like this isn’t a Republican or a Democrat bill, this isn’t a political bill because it’s campaign season, this bill is the right thing to do at the right time,” said Severin.

Former Democratic Governor Pat Quinn abolished the death penalty in Illinois in 2011.

The Death Penalty Information Center looked at 30 years of FBI data on the murders of law enforcement killed in the line duty and found it had no effect on the rates at which police officers were killed.

“It’s refreshing to hear a representative and elected representative supporting the police department,” said Carterville Police Chief Michale Flaningam.

Flaningam has more than 25 years of law enforcement experience.

He says the proposal shows support for law enforcement.

“I think people understand that when a police officer is murdered that that’s a special type of crime and that’s obviously somebody who’s not going to be taken into custody easily and is truly a threat to the public,” said Flaningam.

And Severin says those who do kill Officers need to be held accountable.

“If I’m going to take a life of somebody, a police officer, that I’m going to be accountable,” said Severin.

The Legislation follows the murder of a Wayne County, Illinois Sheriff’s Office deputy who was shot and killed in December. That deputy was responding to a motorist assist on I-64 near the Illinois-Indiana state line.

The current bill is sitting in the Rules Committee.

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