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Quinn Wants Drug Dealers to Pay - Literally - for Crimes

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Gov. Pat Quinn remarks before signing a bill that allows authorities to try to recoup the costs incurred in fighting drug crimes.

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Serving his agenda to protect communities and strengthen law enforcement throughout Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn signed two bills on Thursday to boost local efforts to fight drug dealing and prevent gang violence.

The first of the two bills, House Bill 1258, allows law enforcement to recover funds spend during the course of a drug investigation.

"The best thing to do is prevent crime from happening in the first place," said  Quinn at the bill signing in Elgin. "But when it does happen, you want to apprehend it and make sure that those commit crime pay the tab."

HB 1258 allows local law enforcement agencies to seek reimbursement for investigation, response and cleanup costs from those convicted of drug crimes. Defendants found guilty of Unlawful Delivery of a Controlled Substance or an associated charge will face mandatory, court-imposed restitution and a fine as part of their sentencing.

The measure, crafted by 35-year-old Elgin Police Department patrolman Chris Jensen, mirrors an existing DUI/Accident Personnel Time Report law that allows agencies to recover the funds paid to personnel while investigation a DUI crash.

Several police agencies in Illinois have been forced to stop undercover work and other aggressive anti-drug enforcement tactics after losing federal funding for the decontamination of shuttered methamphetamine production labs.

The second bill law enforcement bill approved by Quinn aims to boost local governments' efforts to attain federal grants to identify and win grants for gang violence prevention programs.

HB 3033 allows the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority to help train local governments to identify and win grants from gang violence prevention programs.

"Every community in Illinois deserves the highest level of public safety, and law enforcement must have the tools to prevent, investigate and fight crime," Quinn said in a press release. "These new laws help ensure that police departments throughout our state have the resources they need to fight drug and gang activity."

Both bills were sponsored by Rep. Keith Farnham  (D-Elgin) and Sen. Mike Noland (D-Elgin).  

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