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Springfield... Legislation aimed at saving local municipalities money has passed both the House and Senate chambers in Springfield.  House Bill 3152, sponsored by State Representative John Cabello (R-Machesney Park), permits a law enforcement agency to dispose of controlled substances on location in a “drug destruction device,” rather than transport and pay for the destruction by the Illinois State Police (ISP).

"Currently, ISP are responsible for destroying controlled substances after the trial judge has granted a motion for destruction of evidence," said Rep. Cabello. "The burden for transportation and disposal falls on the arresting police department. For example, the Rockford Police Department spends around $12,000 dollars each time it has to dispose compared to just $4,500 to purchase the Drug Terminator."

The Drug Terminator safely destroys drugs and narcotics with minimal emissions. Once the unit reaches an optimal temperature, the Easy-Feed Cartridge allows the user to continuously add content into the barrel without the threat of smoke and fumes contaminating the surrounding area. The ashes left from the incineration are considered non-retrievable and are disposed via landfill.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) helped craft the legislation to
help meet their air quality standards. The bill now heads to the Governor where it will await his signature into law.

chamber members, Meijer staff and elected officials cut ribbon
Meijer's Store constructed two new facilities in the Rockford area. Today, the Machesney Park location cut ribbon in celebration and anticipation of the grand opening on Thursday. Meijer showed their dedication in investing in the community by making a donation to Harlem High School's turf project. This is the first time Meijer Stores have opened up two new stores consecutively in the same area.
While gathered in Springfield for session, representatives from the Illinois House offered legislation to honor former Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Hiram Grau. Director Grau was appointed to the position in 2011 as the Illinois State Police’s first Hispanic Director.  House Resolution 61 honored Director Grau by thanking him for his service to the State and dedication to public safety.

State Rep. John Cabello & former ISP Director Grau both center
The resolution’s chief sponsor, State Representative John Cabello (R-Machesney Park) acknowledged Director Grau’s achievements during his four year tenure.

“Director Grau’s devotion to public safety and service to the State of Illinois will leave a lasting impression for all to follow,” said Rep. Cabello. “His leadership and professionalism led to one of the oldest cold cases in American History, the 1957 murder of Maria Ridulph, to be solved. I wish Director Grau all the best as I know his excellence will continue in his next endeavor.”

During his tenure, Director Grau oversaw the ISP’s implementation of Illinois’ concealed carry program, meeting every statutory deadline.  He authorized the use of non-lethal and state-of-the-art tasers by troopers and renewed the ISP’s efforts on diversity and recruitment.  He expanded joint efforts by partnering the Metro East Police Assistance Team (MEPAT) and Chicago Police Department in a fugitive apprehension initiative.

Prior to becoming Director of the ISP, Director Grau was Deputy Chief of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office of Investigations Bureau, where he oversaw the Narcotics/Special and Municipal Investigations Divisions. He has spent his entire career in law enforcement, 28 of those years with the Chicago Police Department, working his way up through the ranks as Patrolman, Tactical Officer, Gang Crime Specialist, Detective, Undercover Narcotics Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Watch Commander, District Commander, Deputy Superintendent, and Acting First Deputy. He also spent 9 years on the FBI's Street Gang Investigation Squad.

Director Grau has received hundreds of special commendations, awards, and recognitions. He is a decorated Vietnam veteran, receiving 4 medals while serving with the United States Army's 101st Airborne Division. He served as Past President of the St. Jude Police League, was a former professor of the Adler School of Psychology (Police Leadership Course), a guest lecturer at the Vietnam Veterans Museum, and a former Leadership Course Instructor for the Chicago Police Department's Executive Development Program.

Director Grau has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice/social justice from Lewis University and a master's degree in business administration from St. Xavier University. He was a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the City of Chicago Executive Development Program.

State Representative John Cabello (R-Machesney Park) attended a press conference this past Sunday to join State Representative Litesa Wallace (D-Rockford) in response to the recent outbreak of shootings and violence in the Rockford area.

"We need to start looking at the early childhood education," Cabello said. "We need to start there and continue that. If we don't give our children the opportunity helping them salvage later on these are the problems we are going to continue to see."

The legislators were accompanied by local leaders and community members to discuss the problems openly. Legislation was filed today to create the Rockford Violent Crime Task Force.

"This isn't something that we are going to be able to fix overnight," Cabello said. "It is something that we need to make sure we work on as a community together."

Watch the full report at – Rockford’s News Leader.

House Resolution 494 Highlighted:

(1) study and determine the causes of violent crime in Rockford and nearby affected communities.

(2) study and determine the feasibility of deploying the Illinois State Police to Rockford and nearby affected communities and neighborhoods.

(3) develop a comprehensive long-term solution to the effect of violent crime in the Rockford and nearby affected communities.

(4) recommend a plan of action to substantially reduce the incidents of violent crime in Rockford and nearby affected communities.

(5) draft any necessary legislation and make any necessary recommendations for appropriations to place the plan of action into immediate effect.
The Illinois State Police are continuing to seek improvements in the quality of the services they provide to the people living in or visiting Illinois. As part of their effort to improve services, the Illinois State Police (ISP) are asking that you share your opinions about the Illinois State Police.

Please take a few moments to complete the survey. Your response will be part of the ongoing planning effort to place State Police resources where they are most needed, while addressing concerns of Illinois citizens.
SPRINGFIELD – Two House Republican legislators with law enforcement backgrounds advanced separate criminal justice reform bills in the Illinois House of Representatives on Thursday aimed at strengthening the ability of current and former inmates who complete an educational degree during their sentence to gain employment upon re-entering the community.
The House approved HB 3884, sponsored by Rep. John Anthony (R-Plainfield), which increases from 60 days to 90 days the length of service credit an eligible offender can earn by completing their high school equivalency testing while in the custody of the Department of Corrections. HB 3884 passed the House by a vote of 95-19 with overwhelming bipartisan support.

“Self-improvement and rehabilitation should be the focus of our criminal justice system,” said Rep. Anthony, a former municipal police officer, county sheriff’s deputy, and advocate with the Safer Foundation, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit providers of services to help people with criminal records secure and maintain jobs as they key to successful re-entry into the community. While with the Foundation, Rep. Anthony made assessments, taught GED to at-risk youth ages 16-21 and served as a case manager for adult offenders. “By incentivizing inmates to earn their GED, we can help them transition back into the community after completing their sentence and dramatically increase their likelihood of success in finding employment.”

In a related move, the House also approved HB 3149, sponsored by Rep. John Cabello (R-Machesney Park), a Rockford police detective. The measure allows a non-violent felony offender who earns a high school diploma, associate's degree, career certificate, vocational technical certification, or bachelor's degree, or passed their GED test during the period of their sentence, aftercare release, or mandatory supervised release to petition for their criminal record to be sealed from potential employers. HB 3149 passed the House by a vote of 94-20.

“With this legislation I hope to encourage participation in progressive educational programs so that people serving sentences for non-violent crimes may take their chance at becoming productive members of society upon their release,” Rep. Cabello said. “The ability to have a record sealed is meant to provide that added incentive.”

Both bills now go to the State Senate for approval.

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IDOT: “project may or may not be terminated”

Springfield… The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) issued a response to local lawmakers regarding the possible future of an Amtrak passenger rail service to Rockford. IDOT stressed that project stakeholders understand the status of the project and the possibility that it may or may not be terminated.

“The availability of funds for this project was falsely advertised.  There was no money designated for the project. It was an outrageous political lie by the prior administration,” said State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford).  “We must proceed cautiously and explore other means of developing transportation until IDOT determines their current and future fiscal outlook.”

“I am disappointed that this project continues to be delayed,” said State Representative Brian Stewart (R-Freeport). “IDOT confirmed that this project currently looks doubtful, however I am hopeful that future plans will continue to develop as we strive to address our States’ current fiscal mess. Until then, we will just have to wait.”

IDOT went on to explain that the Governor’s office is committed to turning Illinois around, but it has to first perform a comprehensive review of all spending and programs, including major infrastructure projects.

As the Spokesperson for the Appropriations Public Safety Committee, which appropriates IDOT, State Representative John Cabello (R-Machesney Park) expressed some concern for the future of the project.
“It’s unfortunate that this project continues to be unsuccessful, but the reality is the funds were never allocated. IDOT is in a difficult fiscal situation and will have to evaluate its long-term fiscal problems before committing to the project. I will have a better understanding as I work with Secretary Blakenhorn to appropriate IDOT’s FY16 Budget. However, we must first and foremost be stewards to the taxpayers of the state.”

“This is a project that we all want, and that I think everyone is excited about,” said State Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford), “but unfortunately our last Governor made a promise that he never funded. In light of our state’s current fiscal condition, it looks like the project will continue to be delayed until suitable funding can be found.”

The Amtrak project to Rockford will be reviewed by IDOT and allow for locals to submit their concerns for the future of the project as they work to evaluate other projects around the State.