State Senator Jacqueline Collins joined State Senator Patricia Van Pelt, State Senator Mattie Hunter and State Representative LaShawn K. Ford today to speak about the need to reform the Chicago Police Department’s gang member database in light of recent reports by ProPublica and the Chicago Tribune highlighting major concerns in how the data set is built, maintained and used. Senator Van Pelt is sponsoring Senate Bill 275 to address these issues. Senator Collins is chief co-sponsor. The following were her remarks to members of the press in Springfield earlier today.

I am Senator Jacqueline Collins, and I stand in support of Senator Van Pelt’s bill today because it addresses the failings of what should be an important tool for keeping our neighborhoods safe. The data set we’re discussing today should be used to help police investigate gang activity and to inform them of possible associations and affiliations. It could be a powerful tool to study gang-related violence. Yet, its use has raised major concerns over how it is built and how it is being used.

We have investigative reporters to thank for recent revelations that have found the data available to be out of date and raised troubling questions about the methods police use to add an individual to the list. Their reports reveal that there are alleged gang members in this database who have celebrated their one hundred and eighteenth birthday, or who are guilty of nothing more than being of a certain race and living in a certain neighborhood. Charges against someone with a name in the database are more severe, and there is currently no process to petition for the removal of one’s name.

We need only look to California – another state with significant gang activity – to see a system which is audited more closely and which informs individuals when their names have been added and allows them the chance to appeal. That is how a system crafted under our Constitution should look. We want to ensure police have the tools they need to fight crime. But a poorly-kept database with little oversight is a blunt and ineffective tool that opens the door for civil rights abuses. We must pass this legislation and make this process worthy of our justice system.

State Senator Jacqueline Collins delivered the following remarks Wednesday, March 14 alongside members of the Illinois Senate during a 20-minute walkout that coincided with student walkouts throughout the country to call for action on gun violence.State Senator Jacqueline Collins delivered the following remarks Wednesday, March 14 alongside members of the Illinois Senate during a 20-minute walkout that coincided with student walkouts throughout the country to call for action on gun violence.

03142018Collins

I speak now because I respectfully requested that my colleague Senator Bush allot an additional three minutes to today’s action. I want to speak about who they symbolize.

Young people throughout the country raise their voices today to demand the protection they are due in a society that values life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It would be remiss of us today not to remember that the epidemic of gun violence recently took the life of one sworn protector, Police Commander Paul Bauer, who died in the line of duty in Chicago. He is just one of hundreds to lose his life to gun violence over the past year.Let us take three minutes of silence: One to honor Commander Bauer and two more to honor all victims of gun violence in Illinois.

We call gun violence an epidemic for a good reason – because guns and bullets do not care about race, religion, age, gender, or creed, whether you wear a school uniform or a police uniform. For that reason, we must stand united. Let us unite, and after today’s solidarity and reflection, let us raise our voices together.

Senator Jacqueline Collins

Feb. 22, 2018

Dear Friends,

 

A new session of the legislature is upon us, and over the past couple of weeks, we have heard from Gov. Bruce Rauner about his budget priorities for the state of Illinois. Unfortunately, what we heard is in keeping with his past proposals, which have invariably sought to undo programs and services that aid the neediest and most vulnerable in our community.

 

In addition to outright eliminating certain initiatives that help university students, the governor’s 2019 budget proposal reduces spending on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, mental health services, and Redeploy Illinois, which has focused on keeping youth out of prison. After-school programs that seek to keep our children off the streets are also reduced or eliminated.

 

Gov. Rauner himself has pointed out that the situation for the African-American community in Illinois is dire, with the worst unemployment rate in the nation and worse-than-average showings in every quality-of-life indicator. These are the root causes of violence in our communities. It is broadly understood that we combat the blight of violence through education, through attention to mental health and through job opportunities. Yet his budget proposes the exact opposite.

 

I say it often because it bears repeating: A budget is a moral document. It is not solely about a bottom line, but about what statement we send to our community and our world about what we value as a society. I believe Illinoisans value using our resources to aid, protect and empower those who need help, because any of us might find ourselves in similar straits. That is why I oppose these cuts and urge you to raise your voice in opposition to them as well.

 

Please call my office at 773-224-2830 to tell me how these proposed cuts might affect you or somebody you care about, or to speak about any other important topic in state government.

 

Sincerely,
Jacqueline Collins
Senator Jacqueline Collins
16th District – Illinois

 

 

District Office

1155 West 79th Street • Chicago, IL 60620

773-224-2830 (Phone) • 773-224-2855 (Fax)

 

Springfield Office

M114 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-1607 (Phone)

 

collins ss3 113017Yesterday, Senator Collins joined Senator Kwame Raoul, Senator Bill Cunningham, and other lawmakers and activists to call for the state to end its participation in the Crosscheck voter database. The right to vote is the right to participate in a democracy without fear of reprisal. No citizen should feel this right comes with the possibility of surveillance, or that their own personal security may be compromised by doing so. Collins pledged to support and co-sponsor any legislation that will opt Illinois out of this system.

Contact Info

Chicago Office:
1155 W. 79th St.
Chicago, IL 60620
(773) 224-2830

Springfield Office:
M114 Capitol
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-1607

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