Durbin Questions Second Witness Panel At Senate Judiciary Committee Chicago Field Hearing On Reducing Gun Trafficking And Violence

CHICAGO – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today questioned David Brown, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department (CPD), and Roseanna Ander, Founding Executive Director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab, during the second witness panel of the Senate Judiciary Committee field hearing entitled “Combating Gun Trafficking and Reducing Violence in Chicago.” Among his questions, Durbin asked Superintendent Brown about the stress and strain CPD officers are put under knowing that gun trafficking has contributed to high levels of gun violence, including dozens of incidents where CPD officers have been fired upon this year. Durbin further highlighted the issue, noting that at least 60 percent of guns recovered in Chicago crimes were purchased in another state.

“What is your theory on why it’s more dangerous [to be a police officer today]?” Durbin posed to Superintendent Brown.

Superintendent Brown spoke about the impact of trauma on officers and the communities they serve as well as increasing penalties for those in possession of an illegal firearm.

Durbin also engaged Roseanna Ander, Founding Executive Director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab, about bail reform and creating new opportunities for communities through violence prevention programming.

“There’s been a question that’s been raised on bail reform in the state of Illinois. Those of us who consider this understand that sometimes people are pulled over for a driving offense or violating some court order that says they’re not supposed to drive again until they pay a fine. They’re caught in the process of doing that and incarcerated and a bail is imposed that they can’t pay. They are literally in a debtor’s prison situation and sometimes jeopardize their job. Have you had an experience with this?” Durbin asked Ander. 

Ander explained that by utilizing data and a more holistic approach, our justice system can appropriately differentiate between minor offenders and those who will cause more harm to our communities.

Durbin also spoke in favor of READI Chicago’s mission—to connect individuals at risk of engaging in gun violence with employment, counseling, and support services—and supporting the program through violence intervention funding in the upcoming reconciliation package.

Video of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here for TV Stations.