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Bill would allow officers seeking mental health services to keep job

State Sen. Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is working to advance legislation that would prevent the penalization of police officers for seeking mental health services.
Cullerton’s House Bill 5231 would clear the way for officers to remain employed if they have been a patient in a mental health facility but not been determined to pose a clear and present danger to themselves or others. It would do so by removing a FOID card as a condition for employment.
“We want officers who have endured traumatic experiences to seek medical assistance without fear of losing their jobs,” Cullerton said.
Although the legislation protects officers who seek mental health services, it does not prohibit an employer from determining an officer’s fitness to serve.
“Our law enforcement officers keep us safe. In doing so, they experience disturbing situations that may warrant their use of mental health services. This makes them human,” Cullerton said. “We are all safer if we make sure these officers have access to the proper mental health services to deal with the traumas they routinely face.”
The measure is an initiative of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council, which said requiring a FOID card for law enforcement officers – many of whom are active service members and veterans of the armed forces – creates an unnecessary obstacle to receiving mental health treatment.
According to a study by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 22 veterans commit suicide every day in the U.S. Cullerton, chairman of the Illinois Senate Veterans Affairs Committee who served as an infantryman in the Army from 1990 to 1993, continues to work toward eliminating the veteran suicide epidemic in Illinois.
“Our veterans have taken care of us. Now it is our time to take care of them,” Cullerton said. “We should remove all obstacles to mental health treatment for our military veterans and public safety personnel.”
House Bill 5231 passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

Cullerton-supported bill eliminates credit reporting agency fees

On Sept. 7, 2017, Equifax announced that a security breach compromised the personal information of 143 million U.S. residents, including more than 5.4 million Illinois residents.
There will now be protections against the consequences of such breaches thanks to a measure championed by state Sen. Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park), which will allow consumers to protect themselves in a cost-effective and timely manner.
“This new law will ensure people are not penalized for making responsible financial decisions,” Cullerton said. “Every day Illinois residents use online services that require them to share personal information. This makes all of us susceptible to security breaches similar to the 2017 Equifax breach. When misfortune strikes, it’s vital that the state of Illinois ensures DuPage County residents have the tools available to protect themselves.”
Cullerton’s House Bill 4095 will prohibit consumer reporting agencies from imposing a charge on a consumer for placing a freeze, removing a freeze or temporarily lifting a freeze on their credit reports.
The Equifax security breach compromised information such as names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver’s license numbers. This breach is very concerning, as such sensitive information can be used for identity theft.
Previously, consumer reporting agencies were allowed to charge up to $10 each time a consumer wished to take these proactive actions.
House Bill 4095 will not only eliminate fees but would also allow Illinois residents to initiate or remove a freeze by telephone and through electronic methods.
“It’s important for the state laws to evolve with the needs of the people,” Cullerton said.
“In light of recent security breaches, it is important that the state has protections in place that prioritizes consumers.”
House Bill 4095 goes into effect immediately.
For those who are already victims of identity theft or those who believe their personal or financial information has been compromised, Cullerton suggests calling the Illinois Attorney General’s toll-free Identity Theft Hotline at 866-999-5630 or 877-844-5461 (TTY).

Off and running
The 12th annual Lauren M. Kiefer 5K Family Run/Walk took place on Saturday morning in Villa Park. The race began and ended outside of Willowbrook High School. The event honors the memory of Lauren Kiefer, a 2000 graduate of Willowbrook. All proceeds from the run/walk benefit the Lauren M. Kiefer Memorial Foundation. The foundation supports several charitable causes, including annual scholarships to Willowbrook students.

Villa Park briefs

Village board approves new contract for collection services
Five-year extension with Roy Strom begins July 1
Villa Park Village Board members voted unanimously during their June 11 meeting to approve an ordinance extending the village’s contract for garbage, brush, landscape waste and recyclable material collection service with Roy Strom Refuse Removal Service, Inc. The contract between the village and Roy Strom is up for renewal on June 30. Village staff negotiated a new five-year contract beginning on July 1, and ending on June 30, 2023, with a renewal option being granted for an additional five years at the sole discretion of the village.
According to information provided by the village, one key feature of the new five-year contract is an annual confidential paper shredding event. The new contract also states that Roy Strom will provide a yearly credit of $10,000, which will be used to fund the village’s drop-off electronics recycling program. The current residential base rate is $19.36 per month. Under terms of the new contract, that monthly rate will increase to $19.80 for the one-year period beginning July 1. The rate will rise to $20.24, $20.70, $21.16 and $21.64 in the remaining four years of the contract.

Police arrest subject at extended stay residence Offender charged
with fugitive from justice

The Villa Park Police Department announced last week the arrest of a subject who was charged with fugitive from justice. Justin Neil Caughey, 22, was arrested on the 300 block of East Roosevelt Road at about 6:15 a.m. According to a statement issued by police, an officer on patrol at an extended stay residence observed a parked vehicle in which the registered owner was listed as missing/endangered.
The owner of the vehicle was reportedly also wanted on two out-of-state full extradition warrants, listing the charges of burglary and theft. Police confirmed the owner of the vehicle—Caughey—was staying at the extended stay residence.
Police entered Caughey’s unit and took him into custody without incident. He was transported to the DuPage County Jail.

Villa Park VFW post holds summer kickoff barbecue on Saturday
Villa Park Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post No. 2801 will hold a kickoff to summer barbecue and open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 23. The VFW post is located at 39 E. St. Charles Road. The event will feature food and beverages, music, games, raffles, children’s activities and information about the organizations the post supports. Guests of the barbecue and open house will also be able to learn how to become a member or a friend of the post.

District 88 provides summer meals for children during June
District 88 will provide free meals to children during the summer as part of the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) for food service. Meals will be served from 9:20 to 9:50 a.m. Monday through Friday through June 29 at Willowbrook High School. Participants should enter through Door No. 1. Each year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture partners with local organizations like District 88 to provide free meals to children when school is out for summer. The program is available for children through age 18. For more information about the SSO, call 630-530-3972.

Saint Genesius Productions to present ‘Titanic—the Musical’ July 19-21
Villa Park’s Saint Genesius Productions will present a summer show next month at Willowbrook High School. “Titanic—the Musical” will feature a cast of area students in grade school, high school and college. The performances on Thursday, July 19, and Friday, July 20, will begin at 7 p.m. There will be two shows on Saturday, July 21. One will begin at 3 p.m. The other will start at 7 p.m. General admission prices are $12 per person and $8 for seniors and children 12 and under. For more information, call 630-244-9406, or visit saintgenesiusproductions.com.
Founded in 2010, Saint Genesius Productions was created to bring the experience of professionally produced children’s theater to Catholic grade schools throughout DuPage County.
The organization has expanded to offer next month’s production.