Worth Mayor Mary Werner and Worth Police Chief Tim Denton expressed concerns over the impending no-cash bail provision of the SAFE-T Act. (File photo)

Worth Mayor Mary Werner and Worth Police Chief Tim Denton expressed concerns over the impending no-cash bail provision of the SAFE-T Act. (File photo)

Some Worth officials are concerned about SAFE-T Act

By Joe Boyle

A controversial criminal justice law that goes into effect on Jan. 1 has some Worth public officials apprehensive and believe it will actually cause an increase in crime.

Worth resident Jack McGrath said that varying opinions about the Illinois Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today Act, or the SAFE-T Act, have arrived in mailings at his home.

“One person says one thing and somebody else say something else,” said McGrath during the Worth Village Board meeting on Tuesday night. “But some of what I’ve seen scares me. They are saying they are going to release criminals after Jan. 1.”

Police Chief Tim Denton said there are aspects of the SAFE-T Act that scare him, too.

“We are working with lobbyists and are trying to get some of this verbiage changed,” Denton said.

Mayor Mary Werner also has concerns over the new law, specifically regarding what McGrath was referring to — no cash bail provisions that will go into effect on Jan. 1.

The bill, which is 700 pages long, includes the no cash bail provision, which eliminates cash bail in all pretrial release decisions. Critics of this provision state that some violent crimes, including murder and homicide, will result in the accused being released without bail.

The no-cash bail does aim to reduce the number of people detained in jail before trial. However, suspects who pose a threat to an individual or the community will not be released, according to those who favor the SAFE-T Act.

But Werner and Denton mentioned to the Worth resident that there are many aspects of this bill that needs further review.

The mayor mentioned that local legislators — state Rep. Kelly Burke (D-36th), state Rep. Fran Hurley (D-35th) and state Sen Bill Cunningham (D-18th) — all voted against the SAFE-T Act.

“But they were about the only ones who did,” Werner said. “Just about everyone else voted for it.”

The mayor thanked McGrath for bringing the issue up.

“I’m glad you are paying attention,” Werner said. “A lot of people aren’t.”

Village Clerk Bonnie Price said that a bid has been made for work on the property at 11138 S. Ridgeland Ave. A bid for $30,759 was made. The person who made the bid stated that they would like to maintain the “unique style” of the home and would prefer not to demolish it.

The minimum bid requested was $20,000. Werner said that was the minimum request because the village had paid that amount in expenses. Another bid of $23,000 was made with the person who made the bid stating they would like to refurbish the house.

Price will wait for another bid before the board makes a decision.

“The good thing is that either way the property will be cleaned up,” Werner said.

Werner also mentioned that the 28th annual North Palos Firefighters Association Pancake Breakfast will be held from 7 a.m. to noon Sunday, Oct. 9, at the North Palos Fire Department Station 1, 10629 S. Roberts Road, Palos Hills.

Tickets for the all-you-can-eat breakfast are $5 for adults, and $3 for children and seniors. The pancake breakfast is an opportunity to meet local firefighters.

“And they also make awesome pancakes,” Werner said.

The Fall Bean Bag Tournament for Special Olympics, sponsored by the Worth Fraternal Order of Police, will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Marrs-Meyer American Legion Post 991, 11001 S. Depot St.

The fee to participate is $25 per player or $50 per team. All participants will be guaranteed a minimum of two games. All remaining proceeds will be donated to the Special Olympics Illinois.

Trustee Brad Urban said that if there is inclement weather, the event will take place in the basement.

The Marrs-Meyer American Legion Auxiliary will hold their fall bazaar from 3 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20 at the post. Werner said the event is described as “a relaxing night out.”

The Worth Cruiser Car Club will hold their trunk-or-treat event from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, in the parking lot of the Water’s Edge Golf Course, 7205 W. 115th St.

Werner also mentioned that the last fishing club event took place last week and was a big success. The mayor thanked Sgt. Michael Cozzi and the popular therapy dog, Louie, who was a big hit with the kids.

“The first week Sgt. Cozzi brought a lot of fishing poles for the kids,” Urban said. “The following week many of the kids brought their own fishing poles.”

“It is getting bigger and bigger every year,” Werner added.

Early voting begins Monday, Oct. 24. Worth residents can vote early at the Palos Heights Recreation Center, the Bridgeview Courthouse, and the Oak Lawn Village Hall.

Price reminded residents that trick-or treat hours will be from 3 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 31.

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