Bailey stands alongside FOP leaders despite voting against police investments
SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - Sen. Darren Bailey spoke with members of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Wednesday during the group’s statewide conference in O’Fallon, Illinois. The Republican nominee for governor says men and women who serve in law enforcement are heroes, but he feels Gov. JB Pritzker treats police like enemies.
Bailey has tried to blame Pritzker and Democratic leaders for rising crime due to the elimination of cash bail. However, that portion of the SAFE-T Act doesn’t take effect until January 1. The Republican stood alongside FOP leaders while he criticized the legislation championed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus.
The Xenia lawmaker claims the law makes it harder to charge murder accomplices and allows for anonymous complaints to be filed against officers. If elected governor in November, Bailey said he would back law enforcement by investing in recruiting and retaining officers and repealing the SAFE-T Act.
“We will send an unambiguous message to criminals and wannabe lawbreakers that there is a new sheriff in town,” Bailey said. “This sheriff will not coddle criminals.”
Bailey also said he will not look the other way while children are “gunned down while playing” in parks around their neighborhoods. Yet, the candidate also infamously said people needed to move on and celebrate the Fourth of July after seven people were killed and dozens more were injured during a mass shooting in Highland Park.
The Pritzker campaign says Bailey is happy to use police officers when it is convenient, but the senator’s voting record shows he has done little to benefit law enforcement.
Still, Illinois FOP President Chris Southwood said his organization is considering endorsing Bailey in the governor’s race. Southwood said Bailey has done everything he can to alleviate concerns from members. He explained Bailey wants to protect police pensions and pledged to support union agreements for the FOP.
Controversial Chicago Lodge 7 President John Catanzara said Bailey admitted he doesn’t know everything and needed to be informed by law enforcement to know what they needed. Catanzara stressed that change needs to occur in Springfield and Chicago to address rising crime. He claimed Illinois has been a nightmare since the SAFE-T Act took effect and Democrats passed the plan from a “50,000-foot overview” because it was all about emotions.
“I can tell you Sen. Bailey has been more involved in trying to understand what the problems are, what needs to be addressed in that than every other politician that helped craft it, pass it, and sign it.”
Although, law enforcement leaders were included in many private discussions and public hearings about the criminal justice plan before lawmakers voted.
The Pritzker campaign notes that Bailey voted against the Fiscal Year 2023 budget that included historic investments for police retention and the largest class of Illinois State Police cadets.
“Until Bailey tells us whether he stands with the insurrectionists at the Capitol on January 6 or the police officers who defended our democracy, he has no right to claim he supports law enforcement,” said JB for Governor Press Secretary Eliza Glezer.
Bailey said Pritzker shamelessly releases convicted cop killers out onto the streets through the state’s Prisoner Review Board.
“When I’m governor, we will work to reinstate the death penalty for anyone who kills a cop,” Bailey said. “It doesn’t matter what neighborhood that you live in or how much money you make, the government’s most basic responsibility is to keep people safe.”
Former Democratic governor Pat Quinn signed a bill into law in 2011 to end the death penalty in Illinois. That law replaced capital punishment with convictions for life without parole. Still, former Republican governor George Ryan declared a moratorium on the death penalty in Illinois. He later commuted the sentences of more than 160 death row inmates.
Several Illinois lawmakers have filed proposals in recent years to reinstate the death penalty for people accused of killing police. None of those bills gained significant support in either chamber of the General Assembly.
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