Public Safety

Breach Reported by Attorney General Confirmed to be Ransomware Attack

Apr 30, 2021
Capitol News Illinois file photo

A data breach reported by Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office nearly three weeks ago was a ransomware attack, according to a Thursday news release.

Raoul’s office has launched a new hotline to provide information to residents following the data breach first reported on April 10.

Students at Marion High School were sent home early after a threatening call from another state.

The school district says at about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, a caller from New York threatened to blow up Marion High School if the girl's track coach is not fired.

EPA Report Finds Delays in Inspections of Cancer-Causing Emissions

Apr 19, 2021
Capitol News Illinois file photo

A senior federal official stalled inspections by regional offices to monitor cancer-causing emissions at suburban facilities in Illinois, according to a report by the inspector general which audits the performance of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The report also found EPA officials delayed informing suburban residents about the ethylene oxide emissions at a Willowbrook sterilization facility and did not conduct public meetings with residents living near two other facilities in Lake County.

Safe Shawnee Hiking with Expert Hiker Shawn Gossman

Apr 16, 2021
WSIU/Kevin boucher

Over the last several weeks, several hikers have sustained injuries after falling in the Shawnee National Forest.  On this edition of WSIU InFocus, we speak with hiking expert Shawn Gossman about how to enjoy southern Illinois' natural areas while staying out of the emergency room.

Carbondale Police are working with SIU's Department of Public Safety after shots were fired near campus Wednesday night.

Bills Call for Modernizing FOID, CCL Systems

Apr 14, 2021
Capitol News Illinois photo by Peter Hancock

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is backing legislation that seeks to modernize the way the Illinois State Police processes and issues Firearm Owners Identification cards and Concealed Carry Licenses, a change that supporters say would speed up the process and improve public safety.

Senate Bill 1165, and its companion, House Bill 745, would essentially turn FOID cards and Concealed Carry Licenses into a single card so when someone renews their Concealed Carry License, their FOID card would automatically renew.

Illinois Attorney General Reports Office Network ‘Compromised’

Apr 13, 2021

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced Tuesday that his agency's office internet network was discovered to be "compromised" on Saturday, according to a news release.

“In the early hours of Saturday morning, it was discovered that the office’s network was compromised. Since then, information technology staff and investigators from the Attorney General’s office have been working closely with federal law enforcement authorities to evaluate the extent to which the network was compromised,” Raoul said in the release.

State Pausing use of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine per Federal Recommendations

Apr 13, 2021

On advice of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Illinois will pause distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson.

The federal agencies made that recommendation Tuesday morning after reporting rare and severe blood clots in six people who had taken the vaccine. The CDC and FDA are reviewing the data regarding those cases.

SIU School of Law

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Sensei Enterprises President Sharon Nelson and Vice President John Simek about their upcoming Beatty Law and Technology Lecture with the SIU School of Law.

Ana Essentiels on Unsplash

A teenager fell about 20 feet from a cliff at the Little Grand Canyon Hiking Trail in the Shawnee National Forest.

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost Pushes Trucker Safety Legislation

Mar 29, 2021
Ralph Kayden/Unsplash

U.S. Congressman Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) is backing the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, which he says will make it easier for truck drivers to find a place to sleep. 

Illinois State Police

The Christian County Coroner's office is reporting the skeletal remains found Saturday in rural Pana are those of a missing Carterville man.

Coroner Amy Calvert Winans has identified the remains as those of 26-year-old Danny Crosby.

A small earthquake in southeastern Illinois Monday morning is highlighting the need to be prepared.

A two point three magnitude earthquake was recorded at 7:30 a-m near Thompsonville in Franklin County. No damage was reported but State Emergency Management Agency spokesperson Rebecca Clark says the event serves as a good reminder.

"It's always better to be prepared and so let's use this event as a reminder we should prepare at home, at work and in our communities for the possibility of earthquakes."

Bill Would End Restraint and Isolation of Students

Mar 4, 2021

A House committee agreed Wednesday to continue working on a bill that aims to end the use of physical restraints and isolation as a way of controlling misbehaving students in public school classrooms.

House Bill 219, sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Carroll, D-Northbrook, was introduced in response to a 2019 article by Pro Publica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune that documented the extent to which those practices are used in Illinois schools and the harmful effects they have on children.

U of I Sued Over Handling Of Sexual Misconduct Claims

Feb 25, 2021

Two former University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students are suing the University of Illinois for failing to protect them from a professor they say was violent and exploitative. The lawsuit, filed last month in the Illinois Court of Claims, alleges the university focused on generating income from Chinese students at the cost of protecting students.

Due to severe winter weather, all American Red Cross blood drives were canceled and donor centers closed on Wednesday.

But, the blood drives and donor center will resume on Thursday.

The City of Marion opened a Warming Center at the Marion Training Center at 211 East Boulevard Street.

The Warming Center will be open daily from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. until further notice.

DCFS Reports 17% Decline in Child Death Cases

Feb 2, 2021

Child welfare officials in Illinois reported a 17 percent decline in the number of child death cases they investigated during the previous fiscal year, an indicator, they say, of progress in addressing previous shortcomings.

According to the latest annual report by the Department of Children and Family Services’ inspector general, the agency opened 102 child death investigations during the fiscal year that ended June 30, down from 123 the previous year.

A Franklin County man is dead following a traffic crash on Interstate 57 before dawn Friday morning.

Illinois State Police say 70-year-old James Bean of West Frankfort was pronounced dead at the scene near the Benton exit.

Heightened Security Measures Remain in Place at Illinois Capitol After Quiet Weekend

Jan 19, 2021
Capitol News Illinois

While there have been no confirmed threats made against the Illinois Capitol, heightened security measures remain in place “out of an abundance of caution” after a quiet weekend in the capital city.

State officials said it will remain that way until sometime after the Wednesday inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

Illinois Residents Advised To Test Homes For Radon Gas

Jan 18, 2021

Governor J.B. Pritzker has announced this January as Radon Action Month. 


The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is urging all residents to test their home for radon. Radon has been found in nearly 40% of the homes tested in Illinois.


Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau attributes over 1,000 cases of lung cancer in Illinois to radon. 

Pritzker Activates National Guard as FBI Warns of State Capitol Protests

Jan 15, 2021
Capitol News Illinois photo by Peter Hancock

Gov. JB Pritzker has activated 250 members of the Illinois National Guard amid FBI warnings of potential armed protests at the 50 U.S. state capitols in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Crews could also be seen Friday placing plywood over the windows of the Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield.

A single engine Cessna plane lost engine power and made an emergency landing Wednesday night in the median of Interstate 57 at milepost 47 in Williamson County.

Riots in Congress Bring State Capitol Security Concerns Into Focus

Jan 8, 2021

Just two days after hundreds of rioters broke through police barricades and vandalized the halls of Congress, Illinois lawmakers will return to the seat of government for a lame duck session.

The security presence at the Capitol, where the state Senate will convene, and the Bank of Springfield Center, where the House of Representatives will meet, has come under renewed focus.

Illinois State Police have released more details on Wednesday's reported bomb threat at its headquarters in Du Quoin.

A White County woman died in a two-vehicle crash in Saline County Wednesday.


Williamson County 911 and Williamson County Emergency Management Agency is asking residents with Amazon smart speakers to activate a new service on their device so they can receive emergency messages from local agencies.

Metro East Schools Will Start 2021 Remotely To Stave Off Holiday COVID Surge

Jan 3, 2021

Many Metro East students won’t be jumping into in-person learning on their first day back from their winter breaks.

Local districts are starting with remote learning plans, with a gradual transition to hybrid or in-person learning plans by Jan. 19 in order to build in quarantine time for students and faculty who traveled or attended large gatherings over the holidays.

The Clay County Public Health Department is offering expanded COVID-19 testing this weekend, after a large potential exposure to the virus on Christmas Eve.

A new Illinois law going into effect in 2021 is meant to safeguard student data from breaches and ransomware.

With this update to the Student Online Personal Protection Act, parents will be able to review and correct their kids’ data held by schools or operators of online services who work with the school.

Parents can also request data be deleted in some cases. State Rep. John Carroll was a co-sponsor of the act.

“Data privacy is our new frontier. It's going to be something that we're gonna have to constantly monitor and make sure it's safe.”