043033 UC Ingalls Mental Health Awareness Month Ad Reoirter
Reimagine Public Safety Act to drive violence intervention funds to state’s most dangerous areas

Reimagine Public Safety Act to drive violence intervention funds to state’s most dangerous areas

By JERRY NOWICKI
Capitol News Illinois
[email protected]

SPRINGFIELD – A state program aiming to take a “comprehensive approach to ending Illinois’ firearm violence epidemic” will be expanded under a law signed Friday by Gov. JB Pritzker.

The Reimagine Public Safety Act became law in June, but the expansion signed Friday clarifies guidelines in the original bill and gives the Illinois Department of Human Services and a newly created Office of Firearm Violence Prevention greater grant making flexibility.

The crux of the RPSA is that it creates the Office of Firearm Violence Prevention to coordinate violence prevention efforts and give grants to on-the-ground community organizations that know how and where intervention is needed in the state’s most violent communities.

Heading that office is Chris Patterson, who was appointed by Pritzker as assistant secretary for violence prevention at IDHS.

“We will work hand-in-hand, individually and collectively to address the violence on our streets and invest in addressing the underlying root causes that cause so much despair: Too much addiction, too little mental health, and too few opportunities,” Patterson said Friday at a Chicago news conference.

The contracted organizations are to focus on programs such as youth intervention services, violence interruption and trauma treatment.

Pritzker said applications are now open for groups that can help train community organizations that will deliver evidence-based violence interruption and prevention services.

A notice of funding opportunity is available at https://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=138882.

This year’s budget includes $50 million for programs defined in the act, and the governor said he’ll work with the General Assembly to include another $100 million in state funding in the budget for each of the next two years.

“Today, the legislation that I’m signing will advance our commitment to make that unprecedented investment in public safety, utilize data to inform where help is most needed, address both immediate needs and systemic change to reduce gun violence, and most importantly, reach even more communities that have historically been left out and left behind,” Pritzker said at the news conference.

In November, Pritzker signed an executive order classifying gun violence as a public health crisis and expediting implementation of the Reimagine Public Safety Act.

The bill was backed in the House and Senate by a pair of Chicago Democrats, Rep. Justin Slaughter and Sen. Robert Peters. Both have been active in some of the major criminal justice overhauls in recent years, including a bill that eliminates cash bail in Illinois beginning in 2023.

“Leaders and members in our communities have been yelling for help for years, and at one point they were met with the deafening silence of a budget impasse and institutions and services closed,” Peters said. “For years, our approach to these struggles was built off of a system that I would call a form of big government gone bad called mass incarceration.”

The RPSA requires that the Office of Firearm Violence Prevention identify the 10 most violent Chicago neighborhoods with the first consideration being the number of shootings per capita. Then it is required to identify another seven of the most violent communities, based on the number of victims.

The language in the follow-up bill signed Friday also allows the office to identify another five Chicago communities for grants as well.

For neighborhoods outside of Chicago that have a population of more than 35,000, the office is tasked with identifying 10 of the most violent communities based on the same parameters. After those are identified, the office can direct grants to up to five more neighborhoods.

The office is tasked with creating a formula for grant distribution and working with advisory councils in the identified communities. The bill states that “when possible” grant amounts should be of at least $300,000 per youth development organization.

Slaughter said the problems facing Chicago and other communities in Illinois are similar to those nationwide.

“This all begins with acknowledging that, unfortunately, systemic racism does exist and understanding that our criminal justice system adversely and disproportionately impacts underserved communities and people of color,” he said.

Slaughter said the SAFE-T Act, which is the criminal justice reform bill passed in January’s lame duck session, contained two prongs of a three-pronged approach to criminal justice reforms backed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus – police and sentencing reforms.

The Reimagine Public Safety Act represents the third prong, which is violence and crime prevention.

“The Reimagine Public Safety Act signifies a different and new approach, one that is not necessarily soft or hard on crime, but rather a smart on crime,” he said.

The bill signed Friday, House Bill 2791, passed the Senate 52-0 and the House 71-41.

Republicans tried, to no avail, to push a series of sentence enhancements and other strict-on-crime criminal justice measures that ultimately failed to receive a hearing in either chamber.

That GOP-backed package included a bill that would appropriate $100 million to the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board to fund grants to local departments for gang violence, carjacking and motor vehicle theft prevention, as well as officer staffing.

The GOP, led by Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, also pushed for measures eliminating good time sentence reductions for someone who brought a weapon to a penal institution or attacked a law officer.

Another Republican-backed bill would require a minimum 10-year sentence for aggravated discharge of a firearm, use of a stolen or illegally acquired firearm in an offense, unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, armed habitual criminal offenses, or aggravated hijacking or carjacking. A second such offense would come with a life sentence.

Pritzker was asked about GOP opposition in the House on Friday, and he said Republicans “have only been calling for more time in prison for people.”

“They’ve only been calling for cracking down and being, you know, just slogans around law and order,” he said. “What we do, what we Democrats have done, is actually invest in fighting crime and actually investing in our communities, investing in the community organizations that make a difference on the ground.”

In other remarks at the news conference, Pritzker pointed to his efforts to double State Police patrols on Chicago’s expressways, to increase funding for the State Police to add more troopers, and to build a new State Police crime lab. He also pointed to a bill reforming the state’s Firearm Owners Identification Act.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Leave a Comment





Local News

Auxiliary Treasurer Samantha Kwit (from left), 1st Vice President Suzanne Stocking Coclanes, Colette Frantz, and Secretary Doreen O'Brien.

LT sophomore wins American Legion essay contest

By Carol McGowan Each year, the American Legion Auxiliary sponsors an Americanism essay contest. The purpose is to aid the schools of Illinois in the teaching of Americanism and good citizenship. The winner this year, at the Robert E. Coulter Jr. American Legion in LaGrange, was Colette Frantz. She is a sophomore at Lyons Township…

Eight of the nine ACE scholarship winners at the presentation on May 9. (not pictured is Lars Randolph)

ACE awards scholarships to Argo students

By Carol McGowan After taking a year off because of the pandemic, the Argo Coalition for Education has once again handed out scholarships to students at Argo Community High School. The ceremony was held on May 9 in the Portillo Performing Arts Center at the Summit school. The program was assisted by Argo Supt. Dr.…

Peggy Zabicki

The young are often our brightest light

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 As summer approaches, we face the discouraging reality of what our neighborhood and our city have become. Carjackings, shootings, dangerous drag racers, assaults and robberies happen every single day. Will things get worse as the weather gets warmer? It is hard to stay positive. Much…

Kathy Headley

Senior linksters headed for Marquette Park

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 Registration is now open for the 39th Senior Amateur Golf Championship at Marquette Park. The event will take place on Saturday and Sunday, June 25-26. Fingers crossed that it does not pour rain on those dates like last…

--Greater Southwest News-Herald photos by Mary Stanek

Plants, books blooming at Peck School

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 “The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.” ― Albert Einstein. Thanks to the parents and teachers of Peck School, the location of the library is at the Peck Panther…

2022 primary-election-1321269_1x

CAMPAIGN 2022: Carr, Justak square off to be GOP leader in Lyons Township

By Steve Metsch The race for Republican Committeeperson in Lyons Township is between the current office holder and a mayor eager to replace her. Incumbent Katie Justak, who is in her first election, was appointed to the position in December by Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison(17th), chairman of the Cook County Republican party. Her challenger…

Oak Lawn Police Chief Dan Vittorio (second from left) congratulates members of the police department who received promotions and were officially sworn in at the village board meeting Tuesday. They are (from left) Cmdr. Edward Clancy, Sgt. Finbarr Haran and Lt. Michael Hudziak. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Oak Lawn officials praise police after arrest

3 officers promoted at meeting By Joe Boyle Oak Lawn officials applauded the efforts of the village police department after an arrest took place following an alleged road rage incident. The incident took place on May 10 when two drivers got into a verbal altercation while driving southbound near 105th and Cicero, according to police. After…

OLCHS logo - Copy

OLCHS students advance in PTSA Reflections contest

Six Oak Lawn Community High School seniors in Jenn Jepsen’s Creative Writing class advanced for literature in the 2021-2022 PTSA Reflections Contest. More than 900 entries in 47 states met the challenge to submit entries expressing “How I Can Change the World.” Emma Jacob’s piece “How Forgiveness Can Change the World” advanced to the National…

EPCHS Principal Bill Sanderson stands with seniors Marissa Burke and Diana Tracey who had perfect attendance throughout their four years of high school. (Supplied photos)

EPCHS students achieve perfect attendance

2 seniors did it for all 4 years Twenty-one Evergreen Park Community High School students were recognized with an offer of a complimentary breakfast in the EPCHS cafeteria on, May 20, for having achieved perfect attendance for the 2021-2022 school year. Perfect attendance is truly an accomplishment, and we commend the following students and their…

Sharon Vojtek, of Palos Heights, and her dog, Spirit, and Meghan Shanahan, of Chicago, and her dog, Keegan, were part of the Oak Lawn Public Library's Finals Week Puppy Break on May 19. (Photos by Kelly White)

Finals Week Puppy Break at the Oak Lawn Library

By Kelly White Spirit, an 8-year-old Border Collie mix, loves being around people. So much so, that she paid a visit to the Oak Lawn Public Library to help students study for finals. That’s right, a dog in a library; and, she wasn’t the only one. The Oak Lawn Public Library, 9427 Raymond Ave., hosted…

Neighbors

AladdinsBanquets WebAd
Auxiliary Treasurer Samantha Kwit (from left), 1st Vice President Suzanne Stocking Coclanes, Colette Frantz, and Secretary Doreen O'Brien.

LT sophomore wins American Legion essay contest

By Carol McGowan Each year, the American Legion Auxiliary sponsors an Americanism essay contest. The purpose is to aid the schools of Illinois in the teaching of Americanism and good citizenship. The winner this year, at the Robert E. Coulter Jr. American Legion in LaGrange, was Colette Frantz. She is a sophomore at Lyons Township…

Eight of the nine ACE scholarship winners at the presentation on May 9. (not pictured is Lars Randolph)

ACE awards scholarships to Argo students

By Carol McGowan After taking a year off because of the pandemic, the Argo Coalition for Education has once again handed out scholarships to students at Argo Community High School. The ceremony was held on May 9 in the Portillo Performing Arts Center at the Summit school. The program was assisted by Argo Supt. Dr.…

Peggy Zabicki

The young are often our brightest light

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 As summer approaches, we face the discouraging reality of what our neighborhood and our city have become. Carjackings, shootings, dangerous drag racers, assaults and robberies happen every single day. Will things get worse as the weather gets warmer? It is hard to stay positive. Much…

Kathy Headley

Senior linksters headed for Marquette Park

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 Registration is now open for the 39th Senior Amateur Golf Championship at Marquette Park. The event will take place on Saturday and Sunday, June 25-26. Fingers crossed that it does not pour rain on those dates like last…

--Greater Southwest News-Herald photos by Mary Stanek

Plants, books blooming at Peck School

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 “The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.” ― Albert Einstein. Thanks to the parents and teachers of Peck School, the location of the library is at the Peck Panther…

2022 primary-election-1321269_1x

CAMPAIGN 2022: Carr, Justak square off to be GOP leader in Lyons Township

By Steve Metsch The race for Republican Committeeperson in Lyons Township is between the current office holder and a mayor eager to replace her. Incumbent Katie Justak, who is in her first election, was appointed to the position in December by Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison(17th), chairman of the Cook County Republican party. Her challenger…

Oak Lawn Police Chief Dan Vittorio (second from left) congratulates members of the police department who received promotions and were officially sworn in at the village board meeting Tuesday. They are (from left) Cmdr. Edward Clancy, Sgt. Finbarr Haran and Lt. Michael Hudziak. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Oak Lawn officials praise police after arrest

3 officers promoted at meeting By Joe Boyle Oak Lawn officials applauded the efforts of the village police department after an arrest took place following an alleged road rage incident. The incident took place on May 10 when two drivers got into a verbal altercation while driving southbound near 105th and Cicero, according to police. After…

OLCHS logo - Copy

OLCHS students advance in PTSA Reflections contest

Six Oak Lawn Community High School seniors in Jenn Jepsen’s Creative Writing class advanced for literature in the 2021-2022 PTSA Reflections Contest. More than 900 entries in 47 states met the challenge to submit entries expressing “How I Can Change the World.” Emma Jacob’s piece “How Forgiveness Can Change the World” advanced to the National…

EPCHS Principal Bill Sanderson stands with seniors Marissa Burke and Diana Tracey who had perfect attendance throughout their four years of high school. (Supplied photos)

EPCHS students achieve perfect attendance

2 seniors did it for all 4 years Twenty-one Evergreen Park Community High School students were recognized with an offer of a complimentary breakfast in the EPCHS cafeteria on, May 20, for having achieved perfect attendance for the 2021-2022 school year. Perfect attendance is truly an accomplishment, and we commend the following students and their…

Sharon Vojtek, of Palos Heights, and her dog, Spirit, and Meghan Shanahan, of Chicago, and her dog, Keegan, were part of the Oak Lawn Public Library's Finals Week Puppy Break on May 19. (Photos by Kelly White)

Finals Week Puppy Break at the Oak Lawn Library

By Kelly White Spirit, an 8-year-old Border Collie mix, loves being around people. So much so, that she paid a visit to the Oak Lawn Public Library to help students study for finals. That’s right, a dog in a library; and, she wasn’t the only one. The Oak Lawn Public Library, 9427 Raymond Ave., hosted…

Subscribe Today.2
Regional Capri Pizza House Ad