CHAMPAIGN COUNTY – In response to new statewide legislation called the Police and Community Relations Improvement Act, law enforcement agencies across the state and in Champaign County, under certain circumstances, have begun issuing “stop receipts” to pedestrians who are searched or frisked by police.
The stop receipts are one part of a greater effort to collect data on pedestrian stops around the state, and those receipts will include the reason for the stop and the officer’s name and badge number.
The new law describes the limited circumstances under which police are required to issue a stop receipt to a pedestrian. Stop receipts generally will be issued when a pedestrian is stopped in an area accessible to the public and when that person is frisked or searched. The receipt normally is issued at the end of the encounter.
Individuals generally will not receive a stop receipt in instances where they are simply questioned by police or where an officer and pedestrian are involved in casual conversation. Because of the urgent need for immediate response, police actively working on an ongoing or recently-occurred violent crime might not issue a receipt. Stop receipts will not be issued following interactions to assist motorists or interviews with potential or actual witnesses or victims of crime.
This is important so that cooperation and friendly interactions between officers and community members can continue.
“Most citizens who deal with the police will not receive a receipt,” said Champaign County Sheriff Dan Walsh. “It is important that people still feel open and encouraged to speak with police and report suspicious activity. We rely on our community members’ active participation so we can serve them in the best way possible.”
Because the law is so new, it is possible that practices regarding when pedestrians receive those receipts may change. Local jurisdictions are making an active effort to keep those practices consistent across the area, at least in the early stages.
“Champaign County law enforcement agencies have been working very closely since the legislation was approved to ensure our practices are largely consistent,” said University of Illinois Police Chief Jeff Christensen. “Because the Champaign-Urbana community is so closely-knit, that cooperation is important so our citizens know what to expect when they are dealing with the police, no matter what jurisdiction they might be in.”
Locally, planning for the stop cards has been a joint effort of the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office, Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office, Champaign Police, Parkland College Police, Rantoul Police, University of Illinois Police and Urbana Police.
For media inquires, contact Champaign County Sheriff Dan Walsh at 217-384-1205 or University of Illinois Police Chief Jeff Christensen at 217-333-1216.
Stop receipt FAQ
What is a stop card?
New state legislation called the Police and Community Relations Improvement Act requires that police in Illinois issue “stop receipts” to some pedestrians in limited circumstances. That receipt serves as a record of the interaction, including the reason for the stop and the officer’s name and badge number.
When will a stop receipt be issued?
At this time, stop receipts generally will be issued when a pedestrian is stopped in an area accessible to the public and when that person is frisked or searched.
When will a stop receipt NOT be issued?
State law does not require stop receipts to be issued in cases where a person is not searched or frisked. This means that individuals generally will not receive a stop receipt in instances where they are simply questioned by police or where an officer and pedestrian are involved in casual conversation. This is important so that cooperation and friendly interactions between officers and community members can continue. Police actively working on an ongoing or recently-occurred violent crime may not issue a receipt because of the need for an urgent police response.
Who will issue the receipt?
The legislation requires all Illinois law enforcement agencies to issue the cards. Because the law is so new, implementation of its provisions may differ from agency to agency. Police in Champaign County have been working closely to ensure local practices are largely consistent throughout the area, but those practices will be closely monitored and may be adjusted as implementation of the new law evolves.
Why are police issuing stop receipts?
The receipts are one part of the Police and Community Relations Improvement Act legislation which took effect at the beginning of the year. Those receipts have a corresponding information sheet police submit to the Illinois Department of Transportation, which will track pedestrian stop data.
What kind of information is on the stop card?
As is required by the new state law, stop receipts will include the officer’s name and badge number and the reason for the stop. The corresponding data sheet, which is submitted to IDOT and not the pedestrian, is more detailed – it includes the location and the gender and race of the person stopped. It also includes, among other information, the reason for the stop, whether the pedestrian was searched or frisked and whether any contraband was found.