Speaker Welch Creates Public Safety & Violence Prevention Task Force (Springfield, IL) – Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch announced the creation of a new task force focusing on the need to create comprehensive, long-term solutions to address the root causes of violence.
“Last year was the deadliest year for gun violence in our country that we have witnessed in decades, and 2021 is on track to exceed that,” said Speaker Welch. “In Chicago alone, this year is expected to be the worst year for murders since 1996. This has to stop and we must focus on community-based solutions to reduce crime, while also addressing the origin of this violence that is so often rooted in poverty and inequity. Our communities, especially our youth, need solutions that work and this task force is committed to bringing all stakeholders to the table to ensure all ideas are thoughtfully discussed.”
Representatives La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) and Frances Hurley (D-Chicago) will co-chair the new task force that will bring together local officials, community advocates, law enforcement, public defenders and bipartisan representatives from across the state to address this dire emergency.
“We have to recognize that so much of our violence involves our youth, and examine what educational and youth development outlets are being underutilized,” Ford said. “Policing cannot be the end-all-be-all, we have to view violence through a comprehensive lens that understands disinvestment in communities, housing insecurity, food security and other issues that have developed in the past decade. I thank Speaker Welch for recognizing the need for this task force and I am excited to partner with Rep. Hurley to begin our work.”
This new task force will bring together all stakeholders to develop a collaborative approach to the violence crisis, whether it be gun violence, hate crimes, sexual and domestic assaults, or other forms of violence. Representatives Ford and Hurley will work with task force members to review and account for violence prevention funding efforts, hear new ideas from violence prevention groups, and conduct listening tours with local officials and state agencies. To make sure taxpayer funds are used wisely and most effectively, the task force will also examine all appropriations awarded to organizations contracted with the state to prevent and end violence in Illinois.
“It pains me when I talk to families about the loss they have endured this past summer due to out of control violence,” Hurley said. “As we work to find ways to reduce crime rates and support our communities, it’s important that all groups are at the table for this including law enforcement, community members and prosecutors. By bringing everyone together, we can talk through ideas, concerns and questions of all stakeholders while ensuring we come to solutions that work for everyone.”
The Public Safety & Violence Prevention Task Force is expected to work with the state agencies, religious and community groups that work to curb violence, mental health providers, law enforcement and organizations focused on job opportunities for at-risk youth. Task force meeting notices will be posted on ilga.gov.
In addition to Ford and Hurley serving as co-chairs, the committee will include 13 democrats and eight Republicans. Democratic members include: state Rep. Jonathan Carroll, D-Northbrook, state Rep. Anthony DeLuca, D-Chicago Heights, state Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago, state Rep. Edgar Gonzalez Jr., D-Chicago, state Rep. Barbara Hernandez, D-Aurora, state Rep. Maura Hirschauer, D-Batavia, state Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, D-Chicago, state Rep. Theresa Mah, D-Chicago, state Rep. Rita Mayfield, D-Waukegan, state Rep. Marty Moylan, D-Des Plaines, and state Rep. Lance Yednock, D-Ottawa.
Speaker Welch Creates Public Safety & Violence Prevention Task Force