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Local leaders react to criminal justice bill signing

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TAZEWELL COUNTY (HOI) -- Not everyone is happy about the signing of HB 3653, the sweeping police reform bill that is set to go into effect this July.

Tazewell County Sheriff Jeff Lower says police weren't given a seat at the table during negotiations.

"We weren't given any direction. We weren't given any consultation. We weren't given any voice in this," Lower said.

The bill includes many provisions that Lower says will significantly increase costs on law enforcement agencies. One of those is a mandate to purchase body cams by 2025.

Lower says he can afford the price tag of around half a million dollars for the cameras, but smaller departments might not have it so easy.

""There are going to be other agencies that are going to have difficulty," Lower said.

On the other side, proponents of the bill, including Peoria's new State House President Pro Tempore Jehan Gordon-Booth say the bill will provide more accountability and equality.

"It is my hope that this legislation ensure that we are making Illinois stronger and safer and more prosperous for all Illinoisans," Gordon-Booth said at the bill signing.

Representative Elgie Sims sponsored the bill and says new training requirements in the bill will actually make policing easier.

"The new law allows for individuals to also have support, the support they need to invest in themselves," Sims said. "I don't understand how it will make their lives more difficult."

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Alex Gaul

Alex Gaul joined WEEK 25 News and Heart of Illinois ABC in January 2021 as a Multimedia Journalist. He formerly worked for KPNX-TV and KAET-TV, both in Phoenix, Arizona. The Illinois-native is an alum of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

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