METROPOLIS — The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (ILACP) has named State Rep. Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis) as one of two “Public Officials of the Year.”
Windhorst was recognized by the association for his efforts to promote and protect public safety and for his strong support of law enforcement during his first term as 118th District state representative.
Illinois’ attorney general Kwame Raoul, a Democrat from Chicago, was also recognized.
The selection is made by the ILACP board of officers, the association’s governing body.
“As a member of the House Judiciary Criminal Law Committee, I have worked to enact laws that improve public safety and support our law enforcement officials at all levels,” Windhorst said. “I am grateful to the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police for bestowing this honor on me. I will continue to stand for public policies that improve safety in our communities and provide the resources and support to the brave men and women of the law enforcement community as a member of the Illinois House.”
Windhorst has the unique distinction of being recognized by ILACP for his work during his first term as a state representative. He had served as Massac County state’s attorney before entering the Illinois General Assembly in 2019. He quickly distinguished himself as a supporter of law enforcement. He serves on the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee and the new Restorative Justice Committee.
Raoul worked collaboratively with ILACP and other law enforcement leaders over a period of months beginning last summer to strengthen Illinois’ process of decertifying police officers.
“One of the first steps I took when developing a proposal to improve the police certification and decertification process was to form a working group comprised of police chiefs and other law enforcement officials because their feedback was an important part of strengthening the process,” Raoul said. “I would like to thank Rep. Windhorst for his participation and input throughout the process. I appreciate the input of the Illinois Chiefs of Police as we worked to ensure that our legislation provided for due process and would be workable for departments throughout Illinois. I look forward to our continued collaboration as we protect residents in communities around the state.”
Raoul then facilitated numerous Zoom meetings with ILACP and other law enforcement leaders to draft a bill acceptable to all.
“He called the Illinois Chiefs at the beginning to listen to our conceptual ideas and specific language,” said Chief James R. Black, the association’s president “He immediately shared his draft language with us late last year, and we proceeded to communicate openly, going back and forth, and we finally had a bill that we supported. This process worked very well. It was a great way to develop legislation that benefits Illinois.”
That language supported by ILACP became part of the omnibus criminal justice reform law that Gov. JB Pritzker signed on Feb. 22.
“On that final day of the lame-duck session in January when the omnibus bill passed, Windhorst stood up on the House floor during the final debate and asked the kinds of questions that should have been asked about bad legislation, and we were pleased to see that he spoke up,” said Ed Wojcicki, ILACP executive director. “He was there for us when we needed him to be. It’s complicated because we opposed the final omnibus bill, but we were always deeply grateful to Gen. Raoul for his commitment to finishing a good process with us,”
Raoul and Windhorst will be recognized publicly by ILACP when COVID protocols are loosened.