Opinion content—editorials, columns and guest commentaries—is created independent of news reporting and is exclusive to subscribers. Our law enforcement community is reeling from grief following the apparent suicide of an Illinois State Police trooper last week. It’s become a tragically familiar experience for police departments in our state. For far too long, we have overlooked
Opinion content—editorials, columns and guest commentaries—is created independent of news reporting and is exclusive to subscribers.
Our law enforcement community is reeling from grief following the apparent suicide of an Illinois State Police trooper last week. It’s become a tragically familiar experience for police departments in our state.
For far too long, we have overlooked the mental health needs of our police and first responders who often suffer in silence. They have extremely demanding, stressful jobs and are constantly exposed to traumatic events. This combination puts many people at increased risk of substance use disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal thoughts. Law enforcement officers and firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The criminal justice reform bills the legislature passed this year acknowledge the emotional challenges police officers face and increase access to substance abuse and mental health treatment.
The new laws invest in mental health resources for officers and set higher professional standards for police. Combined, these reforms can improve public safety and rebuild trust between police officers and the communities they serve.
Protecting the mental health of police officers is just as important as ensuring they are physically healthy. Illinois is letting officers know it is OK to seek help without fear of repercussion. The bill requires statewide services for officers to receive regular mental health screenings and assistance, ensuring that counseling and screenings remain confidential.
To support our officers and provide for safer encounters with mentally unstable residents, officers will receive expanded training on how to recognize and respond to a mental health crisis. The goal is to ensure officers feel prepared when handling challenging situations and civilians feel safe knowing there are clear standards. This is in addition to the Community Emergency Services and Support Act, which provides behavioral health specialists to support police on calls involving a mental health crisis.
The state’s new criminal justice reform laws will provide the vital mental health support law enforcement officers need and deserve.
— State Sen. Laura Fine, D-Glenview, and Rep. Deb Conroy, D-Villa Park
With the uptick in gun violence all over the city, at what point can we start calling these gang members terrorists, and their atrocious killings terrorism, so they can be prosecuted as such?
Year after year, gangs have terrorized their own neighborhoods and the people living there. No one deserves to live like that. These gangs have expanded their operations into other areas of the city, giving us all a little insight into how it must feel to live in neighborhoods ruled by gangs.
It seems that the consequences handed down by our justice system just aren’t working.
I’m not buying what Art Institute board chair Robert M. Levy is selling (“The Art Institute — and its critics — must embrace change,” Oct. 1). If the Art Institute wants to change its well-respected education program to reach more people and to use paid and volunteer educators, go for it. After it has the program ready to go, then recruit new volunteers and retrain the current volunteers.
Volunteers (yes, even older white women) can learn new things and new ways of doing things. Those who don’t want to change or can’t accept the new program could move on. But after years of dedicated service, they deserved a chance. Summarily dismissing all is a kick in the teeth.
As a longtime volunteer at another cultural institution, I feel like a part of the institution, and I donate money in addition to my time and provide lots of publicity. I’m sure these dedicated volunteers did as well.
— Betsy Snyder, Brookfield
Politicians need to do their jobs. They should suspend the federal borrowing limit before they throw the government into default.
Fund the federal government. Cast aside this overwhelming $5 trillion spending plan. Delay physical infrastructure spending for a year. Restructure these burdensome entitlement programs. Pay down the national debt.
To both parties, start acting in a manner that serves national security and our vital economic interests. Start acting like leaders!
— Earl Beal, Terre Haute, Indiana
Many Arlington Heights residents are correctly miffed at the idea of the Bears moving there.
Their biggest disappointment is not the congestion or noise. They were hoping to land a professional sports team.
— Roger W. Peck, Long Grove