Gov. Blagojevich signs Arsonist Registration
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Will alert law enforcement, fire departments
to presence of known arsonists in their communities, aid in arson
[AUG. 20, 2004]
SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Rod
Blagojevich signed into law Thursday a measure that gives local law
enforcement and arson investigators a valuable tool in their efforts
to track down arsonists by establishing an arsonist registry.
"Arson is a terrible crime that
destroys millions of dollars in property and kills innocent
victims each year," said Gov. Blagojevich. "Many arsonists are
repeat offenders, but if local law enforcement and fire
departments don't know these people are living and working in
their communities, they might not have the information they need
to solve these arson cases."
House Bill 4426, sponsored by Rep. Michael McAuliffe,
R-Chicago, and Sen. James DeLeo, D-Chicago, requires arsonists to
register for 10 years with law enforcement officials where they
live, work or attend school. The information will be forwarded to
the Illinois State Police, which will enter arsonists' names and
addresses into the Illinois Law Enforcement Analysis and Reporting
System, known as I-CLEAR. Through I-CLEAR, the information will be
available to local law enforcement agencies, fire and arson
investigators, the Office of the State Fire Marshal, and local
fire departments and fire protection districts. The state fire
marshal's office will make the arsonist registry available to the
public on its website.
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"Requiring convicted arsonists to
register with the state police and be entered into a statewide
database will go a long way in helping local law enforcement and
fire department officials identify and prevent arsonists from
becoming repeat offenders," said Sen. DeLeo.
Minors who are tried and convicted as
adults will also be required to register under the new act, which
takes effect Jan. 1, 2005. Until the I-CLEAR system is available
statewide, the registry initially will apply to arsonists who live,
work or attend school in the city of Chicago.
A $10 fee will be charged for initial
registration, with a $5 annual renewal fee.
firefighter myself, I know how frustrating arson investigations can
be," said Illinois State Fire Marshal J.T. Somer. "Knowing that a
convicted arsonist is living in our community can be an important
piece of the puzzle when investigating an arson case, one that could
help us solve it before he or she has the chance to strike again."
[News release from the