DOWNERS GROVE – A bill signed into law Friday addresses misconduct by law enforcement personnel and dispatchers who use information learned through their employment to obstruct an investigation or arrest.
Co-sponsored by Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove, the bill was filed in response to a 1998 case where a police dispatcher in the Chicago suburbs tipped off a local drug dealer that the police were nearby his home, according to a press release.
The employee was initially found guilty of misconduct, but the decision was reversed at the appellate level when the justices could not find any Illinois law that made the dispatcher’s behavior illegal. The Illinois Supreme Court ultimately concurred with the Appellate decision, according to a press release.
“Unfortunately, we have situations where dispatchers or others involved with law enforcement have used information obtained through their employment to alert friends that police are nearby or are investigating them,” Sandack said in a statement. “The citizens of Illinois need to know they can rely on the integrity of those working in the field of law enforcement, and this new law now makes it illegal for them to share this type of information.”
The provisions of the new law now make it a Class 3 felony for a dispatcher or law enforcement employee to warn a criminal of an investigation or potential arrest.