Governor Signs Legislation to Expand Use of Crime-Fighting Cameras on Illinois Highways

File Photo – Illinois Governor JB Pritzker | Photo: Illinois Information Service

Governor JB Pritzker has signed legislation that will allow the expanded use of cameras to help law enforcement investigate crimes on Illinois highways and highways.

“There is nothing more important than keeping Illinois safe — in our schools, in our parks and on our highways,” Pritzker said.

“The tragic impacts of gun violence on our highways require aggressive and intentional action. By signing this bill, law enforcement agencies will have the tools they need to respond to criminal activity quickly and effectively, ensuring the safety and security of our residents, while holding perpetrators accountable,” said Pritzker.

Illinois State Police Superintendent Brendan Kelly said automated license plate readers are playing an “increasing and critical” role in investigations and arrests in the Chicagoland area.

“ISPs now routinely use this technology to track highway shootings and carjacking suspects, so the expansion of this technology in Illinois expands our ability to protect our highways and bring violent criminals to righteousness,” Kelly said.

Pritzker signed House Bill 4481, which increases the number of cameras along freeways and state highways in Boone, Bureau, Champaign, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Henry, Kane, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle counties, Macon, Madison, McHenry, Morgan, Peoria, Rock Island, Sangamon, St. Clair, Will, and Winnebago.

The state’s FY23 budget included $20 million to expand the technology. The legislation takes effect immediately.

“Public safety is one of the biggest issues facing Illinois,” said Sen. Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines).

“I am proud to advance legislation that will help our families feel safer and provide law enforcement with the additional tools they need to investigate crimes and ensure justice is served.” said Murphy.

Pritzker also signed House Bill 260, which allows freeway cameras to be used along Jean-Baptiste Pointe DuSable Lake Shore Drive.

The new laws will give law enforcement the ability to use camera footage to investigate shootings, carjackings and other criminal activity.

The Illinois State Police (ISP), in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Chicago Department of Transportation, installed more than 150 Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPR) on Chicago freeways and plans to install about 150 more throughout the summer.

LPRs cover the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-94), I-90, I-290, I-55, and I-57.

In early 2021, ISP received a $12.5 million grant to cover engineering, licensing, and labor costs associated with the purchase and installation of readers, controllers, servers/software, power supply and communication equipment necessary for the installation of ALPR systems.

In the first phase, ALPRs were installed on the Dan Ryan Freeway over the summer and fall of 2021.

The second phase was recently completed for a total of 150 LPRs on many highways. For the final phase, ISP is installing an additional 150 LPRs for a total of 300 under the initial grant.

The funding and installation of LPRs stems from the Tamara Clayton Expressway Camera Act, which was signed into law in July 2019 and took effect on January 1, 2020.

Clayton was on her way to work on February 4, 2019, when she was fatally shot while driving on Interstate 57 near Cicero Avenue.

In 2021, there were a total of 264 reported highway shootings, according to the governor’s office. This includes 114 shootings with injuries, 22 shootings with fatalities and a total of 148 shooting victims.

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