'War zone full of criminals': Orland Park mayor rips Chicago's public safety

Keith Pekau (Yasmeen Sheikah)

A resolution was unanimously approved by the Orland Park Village Board Tuesday over the new Safety Accountability and Fairness Equity Today (SAFE-T) Act.

The resolution demands that state legislators work with public safety representatives and community stakeholders to fix problems with the SAFE-T Act, including:

  • Unreasonably limiting the imposition of cash bail,
  • Unreasonably limiting police officer discretion to make arrests,
  • Imposing unreasonable police certification and decertification standards,
  • Mandating unreasonable custodial accommodations,
  • Unreasonably allowing offenders to violate terms of their release;
  • And violating victims’ rights as outlined in Illinois law

"We must not allow this law to stand as passed," said Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau. "I can’t even begin to tell you how dangerous this act is." 

The 800-page SAFE-T Act is central to Republicans’ portrayal of Gov. J.B. Pritzker as soft on crime. One of the law’s key provisions, which won’t take effect until next year, will do away with the state’s cash-bail system, making Illinois the first state to do so.

Pritzker has defended the SAFE-T Act.


When he signed the law in February 2021, the governor said, "Transforming the pretrial detention system so low-income people aren’t thrown behind bars while only the wealthy walk free, diverting low-level drug crimes into substance-treatment programs and reducing excessive stays in prison."

"Someone could decide to live in your shed, and all we could do is give them a ticket," said Pekau. "This is a massive threat to residents of Orland Park, Cook County and Illinois. But it doesn’t end here."

"There is currently a bill in front of the house to remove school resource officers from our schools, which means no school resource officer at Sandburg High School. The city of Chicago has already done this," Pekau continued. "I personally do not want to see the city of Chicago become the standard for how we conduct public safety because they have abandoned their police officers, abandoned their residents and created a war zone full of criminals."

The adopted resolution can be read in its entirety here.