Illinois lawmakers are looking to update state rules for when police can use drones.
Illinois passed a drone law in 2013 that required police departments in the state to get a warrant before flying a drone for surveillance. A plan that passed the Illinois Senate this week would change that.
State Sen. Martin Sandoval’s proposal would allow police departments to fly drones for any “legitimate law enforcement purpose.”
“I don”t want Chicago to be the next Las Vegas-style outdoor terrorist attack. But I also don’t want drones to be surveilling everyone’s every move,” Sandoval said Thursday on the floor of the Illinois Senate. “This legislation clearly is limited to drone usage for providing safety.”
Sandoval said his plan would limit where police can use drones to large, public gatherings.
“An individual’s private event, on their own property, would not fall under the exception for law enforcement for the use of a drone,” Sandoval said. “The bill states that large scale events are events that take place at a sports or entertainment area, a stadium, a convention hall, a special event center, an amusement facility, or an event open to the public on government property.”
The ACLU of Illinois has raised concerns. The group said in a statement this week that the new rules could equip drones with facial recognition software, which it said goes beyond just public safety.
“Given Chicago’s history of surveillance against protestors and social justice advocates … the Chicago police should not be able to use this new, powerful tool to monitor protestors near silently and from above,” said Karen Sheley, director of the ACLU Police Practices Project. “The legislation also ignores sweeping surveillance tools currently available to the police.”
There is a similar plan in the Illinois House. That measure has cleared a House committee.
The Illinois Senate overwhelmingly approved Sandoval’s drone rules, 36-2. The measure, SB 2562, will now head to the House for a vote.
Article by the Benjamin Yount, for more INN News visit ILnews.org
Report: Gov. J.B. Pritzker under federal criminal investigation
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, his wife First Lady M.K. Pritzker, and others are under federal criminal investigation for a dubious residential property tax appeal that critics highlighted in last year’s gubernatorial race.
WBEZ first reported the federal probe, citing information from a law-enforcement source familiar with the investigation.
Pritzker’s attorney denied any wrongdoing.
“Neither the Governor nor the First Lady have been contacted by law enforcement regarding the property tax appeal,” Attorney Marc Elias said in an email to Illinois News Network. “We are confident that any further review of the matter will show that the appropriate rules were followed.”
Pritzker, whose net worth is estimated at $3.2 billion, paid back the more than $330,000 he got in tax breaks for removing the toilets to have a mansion he bought deemed uninhabitable. He paid back the money in October, days after a leaked report from a Cook County watchdog surfaced. A Cook County inspector general report about the 2015 tax break called it a “scheme to defraud” taxpayers.
Political opponents pounced on news of the federal probe.
“Gov. Pritzker should immediately abandon his push for this massive jobs tax on middle-class families because he can’t expect people to pay more when he is reportedly under criminal investigation for gaming the system to pay less,” Ideas Illinois Chairman Greg Baise said.
Ideas Illinois has been opposing the governor’s proposed progressive income tax.
“The governor likes to call his push for more taxes ‘fair’ but it’s clear he knows nothing about fairness or equity – he needs to drop his push for this Jobs Tax that will only hurt middle-class families even further,” Baise said.
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider compared Pritzker’s decision to pay back the $331,000 to a bank robber returning stolen money after getting caught.
“Just because he gave the money back means nothing to me,” Schneider said in an interview. “He schemed to defraud the taxpayers of the county. He technically took money out the school system, to pay for our cops, to further burden other taxpayers because he didn’t pay his fair share.”
Schneider also said he was glad the investigation was being looked at by federal officials.
“I’ve seen silence on the part of the Cook County State’s Attorney,” Schneider said of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. “I think she botched the Jussie Smollett case and we don’t even know if she’s investigating this on the Cook County level and I’m grateful that the feds have picked up the batton on this case.”
Pritzker could be asked to comment on the story when he is in front of reporters later this morning.
WBEZ reported that it wasn’t clear if any criminal charges were imminent; it also reported that “the scope and intensity of the federal investigation is not entirely clear.”
Article by Greg Bishop with Illinois News Network. For more INN News visit ILnews.org
Springfield Police tell residents: lock your cars
Springfield is dealing with a city-wide issue of cars being broken into. From the 13th to the 16th, 35 cars were broken into. These incidents happened all over the city. Chief Winslow was asked to discuss this situation at last night’s city council meeting.
Winslow had a very simple message for Springfield residents: lock your cars. Although some of the incidents did involve breaking a car’s window, the overwhelming majority did not. 30 of the 35 break-ins were to unlocked vehicles. Thieves were simply checking the handles of cars to find ones that were unlocked. This is not to excuse the criminal activity, but locking your doors is a key step for your protection.
He went on to say that valuables should not be stored in vehicles; and if they must be, they should be out of sight. If thieves do not see anything worth stealing, they will be much less likely to break in. In addition to items like phones and GPS units, garage door openers are items that are often stolen. Once a thief has the garage door opener, the home becomes vulnerable to burglary as well.
The police are still working to catch those individuals responsible for the break-ins. Five individuals have been arrested, but it is believed that there are many more still out there. Suspects include both juveniles and adults. If you see something suspicious, call the dispatch number 217-788-8311. Don’t call your local police officer in these situations; they may not be on duty and so will not answer right away. If you have other information, especially pictures or video, share it with the police. Just putting it on social media will not ensure the police get access to it.
Take the time to make sure your doors are locked. This is a city-wide issue, and it will take a city-wide effort to deal with it.
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