Criminals convicted of disarming a peace officer during a struggle will face tougher penalties, under legislation sponsored by Senator Tim Bivins and passed May 27 by a unanimous vote of the Senate.

Sponsored in the House of Representatives by Representative Jim Sacia of Pecatonica, House Bill 5653 increases the penalty for disarming a peace officer or correctional employee from a Class 2 felony to a Class 1 felony, punishable by 4-15 years in prison.

Senator Bivins, who served as Sheriff of Lee County for 20 years, says such situations are life-threatening for the officer, as well as other people who are in the vicinity.

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