Plan to prevent 911 dispatchers from tipping off criminals passes IL Senate

By WEEK Producer

March 4, 2014 Updated Mar 5, 2014 at 11:33 AM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A bill to make it illegal for police dispatchers to tip off criminals is one step closer to becoming law.

The bill, sponsored by State Senator Dave Koehler, would make it a Class 3 felony for a police dispatcher, or anyone in a similar position, to warn a criminal that law enforcement is nearby or on the way.

The penalty for a Class 3 felony is two to five years in prison.

In 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that it is not a crime for a 911 dispatcher to let a drug dealer, or other criminal, know that police are in the area. The court called the case “troubling” and the defendant’s actions “unjustifiable,” but found nothing in Illinois law making such behavior illegal.

It passed the Illinois Senate on Tuesday and now heads to the Illinois House of Representatives for consideration.

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