EFFINGHAM, Ill. (WCIA) – More Illinois officers were killed by gunfire in 2021 than we’ve seen in two decades, five people lost their lives.

That’s one reason why Senator Darren Bailey filed Senate Bill 3899.

“Law enforcement is under attack, and I think we all know that.” Bailey said.

The bill would reinstate the death penalty in Illinois for anyone 18 or older found guilty of killing a police officer in the line of duty. Like fallen Champaign Police Officer Chris Oberheim.

Amber, his widow, said since his death, she is advocating for and supporting the family and friends of people who die in the line of duty.

“It is not only our privilege and our honor to advocate for law enforcement officers and their families, it is our responsibility,” she said.

Oberheim said it’s bills like this one that could help to deter another officer from being hurt or killed while working.

“Public safety is a bi-partisan issue, not one to be argued between Democrats and Republicans. Because trust me, my husband’s killer did not stop to ask him if he was a Democrat or Republican before he shot him three times,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what side of the line you sit on. Bullets are flying in the streets of Illinois, and they don’t differentiate between political parties.”

Effingham Police Chief Jason McFarland said the country is experiencing an unprecedented spike in violent crimes, and change needs to happen.

“The solution to this tragic problem isn’t simple and it isn’t easy. But I do believe it will begin, and it must begin with the citizens of our community and our state,” McFarland said.

If the bill passes, it will go into effect January 1st of next year.