Top cop slams Illinois SAFE-T law — dubbed ‘purge law’ — as social experiment, hits 48-hour gap for missing perps

A FORMER police chief says the controversial ‘purge law’ would put people’s lives at risk and doesn’t want it to be used as a social experiment for bail reform.

Illinois law calls for the end of statewide cash bail effective Jan. 1, 2023, and a provision that bars cops from searching for missing offenders until 48 hours after their offense.


Former Riverside, Illinois police chief Tom Wietzel says he doesn’t want his state to be a social experiment to end cash bailCredit: provided
llinois SAFE-T law has been dubbed


Illinois’ SAFE-T Law was dubbed “The Purge Law” on social media after the filmCredit: Alamy

The two changes are part of a sweeping justice reform law called the SAFE-T (Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today) Act, which social media has called “the purge law.”

About 102 of Illinois’ 102 county prosecutors opposed the bill and police were never consulted before it passed, former Riverside Police Chief Tom Wietzel told the US Sun.

“We told them it was not a good idea,” said Wietzel, who retired in May 2021 after nearly four decades in law enforcement, including surviving a gunshot. hunting in the chest.

“I think it was just a knee-jerk reaction to what happened in Minneapolis, and the politicians want to say Illinois is the first state to end cash bail.”

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A few cities across the United States have implemented varying degrees of bail reform, but this law is the most drastic because it applies statewide and includes violent crimes like murder and kidnapping.

Loyola University Chicago and the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority will evaluate the changes made by the law.

“I don’t want Illinois to be a social experiment.”

Former Chief of Police Tom Wietzel

“I don’t want Illinois to be a social experiment,” Weitzel said. “And you’re not experiencing criminal justice. Lives are at risk.”

Weitzel noted that comments from law enforcement are again excluded from the study and show a “disrespect” to cops who make arrests and are directly affected by the law.

“If they don’t include the police officers themselves and/or the police chiefs, in my view, the report and the analysis would be flawed,” the retired Riverside police officer said.

The summary of the evaluation does not mention specific benchmarks to determine the success or failure of the delivery.


Ever since the world watched the murder of George Floyd under the knee of a disgraced ex-cop, the pendulum has swung dramatically toward police reform.

The result led to positive changes, which Weitzel says are included in the legislation, such as body cameras and new training.

But the downside has been a more passive approach to crime, which has increased in most major US cities in recent years.

In Chicago, the number of murders rose from 361 in 2019 to 536 in 2020 to 565 in 2021, according to the latest crime statistics from the Chicago Police Department. So far in 2022, there are 479 murders.

“The pendulum always swings from one extreme to the other and then swings back,” Wietzel said.

“But if we don’t act, the pendulum may not swing back to public safety.”


The other problem Weitzel sees with the 800-page legislation concerns changes to the electronic monitoring system, which is already in effect.

Suspects with GPS ankle monitors are not considered offending until they have been missing for 48 hours, which begins after police confirm they are missing.

“It can take a week or more before the police realize someone is gone. And then the 48-hour countdown begins,” Weitzel said.

“My three sons are all police officers, and they’ve made more arrests for serious DUI crimes where the suspect has the electronic ankle bracelet,” he said.

“It shows that they are still committing crimes.”

CWB Chicago, a local outlet, uncovered the number of shootings committed by the defendants under the electronic monitoring placement program.

On Thursday, the outlet reported that a suspect charged with murder is the “37th person charged with killing or shooting – or attempting to kill or shoot – someone in Chicago while awaiting trial for a felony This year”.

The US Sun has filed a public information request for data related to the statewide electronic monitoring placement program.


Supporters and opponents of the law have generally been divided along political parties.

Many Republicans argued that this would increase crime; while Democrats argue that the current bail system discriminates against people of color.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker addressed opponents of the law in a tweet Wednesday morning.

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“Misinformation is spreading like wildfire, and there are ugly lies floating around about the SAFE-T Act,” he said.

“This law does not mandate the release of defendants or create ‘non-custodial offences.’ Defendants are eligible for bail based on their risk, not their bank accounts. Learn more.”

Illinois prisoners feared to be released under state's SAFE-T law


Illinois prisoners feared to be released under state’s SAFE-T lawCredit: Getty Images – Getty

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