As part of his ongoing efforts to support and protect the brave men and women who serve as police officers, State Senator Darren Bailey (R-Louisville) filed Senate Bill 3899, which would reinstate the death penalty for individuals found guilty of killing police officers.
“We need to send a clear message out there to the law enforcement community that we will not allow heinous attacks against the very people who are serving to protect us,” said Senator Bailey. “We have to make it clear we have our officers’ backs, an attack against our officers in an assault against the safety and security of our communities.”
The bill would allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty for anyone 18 years of age or older who has been found guilty of first degree murder of a peace officer who was performing his or her official duties.
“We need legislators who will provide legislation that will allow the court system to succeed,” said Effingham Police Chief Jason McFarland. “To allow for more aggressive prosecution for violent crime in every part of our state. It is time we hold violent criminals more accountable with sentences that not only keep the criminal off the street, but also serve as a deterrent to other offenders who commit violent crimes.”
Since the state’s death penalty was abolished in 2011, first-degree murder of a police officer is currently punishable with a term of life imprisonment.
“The current attack on law enforcement is unprecedented,” said Amber Oberheim, widow of Champaign Police Officer Chris Oberheim. “It is not only our privilege and honor to advocate for law enforcement officers and their families, it is our RESPONSIBILITY. We, the people of the state of Illinois, must not tolerate the ambushing and slaying of our officers. Unprecedented times call for swift, effective unprecedented measures to stop the threat inflicted by career criminals who possess a blatant disregard for life.”
Right now, at least 27 states have similar provisions allowing the death penalty for those convicted of killing police officers. Bailey’s legislation would go into effect on January 1, 2023.