Require Cops To Get State License? Gov. Pritzker Considering Proposal

JB Pritzker News Conference
Photo credit Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker at a news conference Monday June 8, 2020 (Facebook)

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Gov. JB Pritzker says he’ll take a look at a proposal to license police officers as a way to regulate their discipline.

The idea comes from Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, who has said police officers should be licensed by the state and potentially have their license pulled for misconduct.

Pritzker was asked about the idea Monday.

“We’ve been looking hard at that. I think that you have to think about what are the methods by which people can be disciplined if they’re not going to get disciplined by their own police departments — if the investigations are taking place by a police department that may not want to hold some of their officers accountable for the kind of behavior we would all find reprehensible.”

On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the concept is worth studying. She noted the person who cuts her hair is licensed by the state.

“There’s a uniformity in the professionalism, and then they have to recertify themselves on a regular basis," she said. “Why wouldn’t we have that for police officers?  I think it’s an idea that we absolutely must discuss and debate because it makes sense.”

Gov. Pritzker was also asked this week about protesters’ recent demands for “defunding” police, which some take to mean shifting a portion of police funding to social services.

The governor says he wouldn’t use the phrase. He said his administration is looking at some reforms which address police accountability in Illinois. Likewise, Lightfoot says she support police-reform measures but not wholesale moves to reduce the police department.