Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Illinois State Police changes education requirements for applicants

Right now, the Illinois State Police is changing its policies to draw in more potential new hires. 

Starting next year, you will no longer need a bachelor's degree to apply to be a state trooper.
Applicants will now only need an associate’s degree or 60 credits of course work.

The reason? A shortage of state police in Illinois.

In 2009, the state police had approximately 2,119 troopers. Today, they only have about 1,767. "We don't have enough troopers out there in my opinion, We need to be out there patrolling the interstates," said Hector Alejandre, a master sergeant with the Illinois State Police.

University of Illinois Springfield political science professor Ryan Williams believes that this will open doors to lower-income applicants. "A two-year degree might be more affordable for the population that can't afford a four-year degree,” said Williams.

Williams said a bachelor's degree does help in certain areas. "An education helps them be more empathetic,” said Williams. “It helps them write better when they have to write reports." Overall, he said lowering academic requirements won't make a big difference in everyday police work.

ISP officials said they also offer tuition reimbursements if troopers want to go back to college after they're hired. They are actively recruiting for their 2020 state trooper class.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on October 8, 2019.

Watch the story online.