Local law enforcement, prosecutors preparing for SAFE-T Act implementation

Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 4:16 AM CST
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QUINCY (WGEM) - The SAFE-T act is set to go into effect in Illinois at the start of the new year and the Quincy Police Department and the Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office say they are in the process of making sure they are ready when that happens.

The act has new requirements and standards law enforcement departments need to abide by such as the end of cash bail. QPD Deputy Chief of Operations Michael Tyler said one new requirement is 30 extra hours of training for individual officers every three years. He said normally these trainings are optional for departments.

Tyler said the trainings cover topics like sexual assault or trauma-informed response, civil rights, reporting abuse, and self-defense training. He said extra training is good, though there is a concern the training might take officers off the street, depending if it’s in a classroom or in another city. He said he’s already having his officers start working on the training.

He said they are also working with the Adams County State’s Attorney’s office in regard to changes in the way they compile evidence.

“When our officers arrest and lodge them, instead of doing a short narrative on the reason why we arrested the person and why we believe they did the crime, we are going to have to add more things into that report which is usually what we do with our general offense report, our longer reports so we are just going to have to get that information faster to the states attorney’s office, so that they have that information,” Tyler said.

He said the state’s attorney’s have provided a new evidence form so they can compile all the necessary information quickly.

Those at the Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office said they are also having to make changes to their workflow. Lead trial attorney Josh Jones said new measures in the SAFE-T Act are going to require a lot more work on their end.

Jones said right now, probable cause is sufficient to determine if a suspect needs to be detained but he said the SAFE-T act would make it so that they would need probable cause and a certain amount of evidence which needs to be obtained within 24 hours.

He said while he understands the arguments on both sides in regard to raising the standard for detention, there is a concern that the 24-hour deadline would put officers and prosecutors under a time crunch. He said they’ve created a new arrest form for law enforcement which officers can quickly fill out and provide the necessary information for a judge within that time.

“We’ve also created new sub-sections for particular types of evidence,” Jones said. “If an officer believes an individual may need to get a buckle swab, the DNA test, we’ve included that information so we can get that started right away because again, remember if somebody’s detained we have to bring them to trial within 90 days.”

Jones said they are also working on pre-written motions and orders that judges can quickly look over and sign. Those motions include a motion to detain a suspect, a motion to set pre-trial conditions and a motion to revoke those pre-trial conditions. He said they are still coming up with more motions and orders and are still asking the legislature to clarify some items in the act they’re not sure how to approach.

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