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Bill Would Allow Death Penalty for Killing First Responders

OFFICER FUNERAL
STEPHEN HAAS/AP
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DECATUR HERALD & REVIEW
Herald & Review/Stephen Haas The badge of Illinois State Police officer Dave Beasley is covered with a black strap for the funeral mass for officer Brian McMillen Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2007, in Pana, Ill.

A member of the General Assembly from the Quad Cities wants to bring back the death penalty to Illinois. The bill by Republican State Senator Neil Anderson from Andalusia would re-instate capital punishment for anyone who kills a first responder.

That would include police, firefighters, EMT's, and employees of the Department of Corrections.

"Regardless of deterrent, what I'm concerned about is that justice be met especially with all the assault and criminal justice reform against law enforcement."

Anderson says "we owe it to first responders to make sure than anyone who attacks them is held accountable to the highest level possible."

He thinks a perfect example of who his bill would affect is the man who killed a police officer from Bradley in December - he says the officer was "executed" while pleading for her life.

"That person deserves to have the same fate as he doled out. And I think It's important for the family of the victims to have swift closure."

When the General Assembly meets next month, he plans to add DCFS workers to the list of first responders.

Anderson is a first responder himself, serving as a firefighter for the city of Moline.

A chief co-sponsor of the bill is State Senator Dale Fowler from Harrisburg.

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois. While a graduate student in the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois at Springfield (then known as Sangamon State University), he got his first taste of public radio, covering Illinois state government for WUIS. Here in the Quad Cities, Herb worked for WHBF Radio before coming to WVIK in 1987. Herb also produces the weekly public affairs feature Midwest Week – covering the news behind the news by interviewing reporters about the stories they cover.