SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In an effort to combat gang violence in schools and suburban communities, state Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, passed two bills implementing a gang crime witness protection program, and enabling schools to share information about gang activity.
“These bills take a stand against the gang violence that is destroying our neighborhoods,” Welch said. “We have to show people that the law is stronger than the street gangs, and protect the witnesses and victims who have the courage to come forward. This legislation will provide extra protections against gang retaliation for those who come forward to bring justice to victims and make our streets safer.”
Welch’s House Bill 1139 protects those who assist in the prosecution of gang members from gang retaliation by enabling the State Police to relocate victims and witnesses. Welch also passed House Bill 2768, which requires school principals to contact law enforcement agencies when school safety is threated by weapons or gang activity. The bill also requires law enforcement officials to notify a school principal when a student has been arrested for gang activity. Both bills passed the House with strong bipartisan support, and now await action in the Senate.
“We are going to have to work together as a community to keep our schools safe from gang violence,” Welch said. “Gang activity in our schools terrifies teachers and students to a point that education is forced to the back burner. This legislation will open up communication between our principals and law enforcement so that our schools can once again return to being a safe space for learning.”
Welch represents the 7th District which includes all or portion of Bellwood, Berkley, Broadview, Forest Park, Hillside, La Grange Park, Maywood, Melrose Park, Northlake, River Forest, Westchester and Western Springs. For more information, contact Welch’s constituent service office at 708-450-1000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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