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How Do You Become A Police Officer In Illinois

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By on 02/10/2020

There are plenty of Hollywood movies out there that detail the rigorous physical training involved in becoming a cop. You might even be able to picture the obstacle courses, shooting ranges and tactical scenario training rooms. These are all important elements of police officer trainingbut they only make up one portion of the process.

Given the high level of responsibility and trust afforded to law enforcement, the standards for becoming a police officer are higher than what youll likely find in many careers. The specific standards and process will vary slightly based on the state, county or town youre applying to work in, but there are a few universal requirements to become a police officer you should be familiar with.

If youre wondering how to become a police officer, youre in the right place. Keep reading for a high-level breakdown of the path to pursuing a career in law enforcement.

Education Requirements To Become A Police Officer In Illinois

With education, you have various options. The first thing you need to get is a high school diploma or a GED. Following this, you may go for the following educational options:

Option 1: A 4-year long Bachelors degree in a field related to law enforcement, such as criminal justice or forensic science.

Option 2: An Associate of Arts or an Associate of Science Degree or equivalent coursework, along with meeting one of the following two job experience requirements:

  • 3 years of consecutive and continuous, full time work as a police officer with the same police department
  • 3 consecutive years of active military duty

Option 3: An Associate of Applied Science Degree with a major in Law Enforcement or Criminal Justice, along with meeting one of the following two job experience requirements:

  • 3 years of consecutive and continuous, full time work as a police officer with the same police department
  • 3 consecutive years of active military duty

Option 4: The education requirements are waived off in some cases. Applicants will not be required to fulfill the above stated requirements in the following circumstances:

  • The applicant was honorably discharged from the armed forces of the United States after serving active military duty along with being awarded at least one of the qualifying medals
  • The applicant is currently an active member of the Illinois National Guard or a reserve component of the United States Armed Forces and has been awarded at least one qualifying medal.

What Does A Police Officer Do

A police officer is a government employee who maintains safety in communities and protects citizens by enforcing the law. Police officers may work at city, county, state or federal departments, and the laws they enforce depend on their jurisdiction. Some primary duties of a police officer include:

  • Patrolling a designated area to watch for unlawful activity

  • Responding to emergencies such as vehicle accidents and criminal activity

  • Issuing citations for minor offenses such as traffic violations

  • Apprehending and arresting people accused of committing a crime

  • Investigating accidents and criminal cases

  • Executing arrest and search warrants

  • Transporting suspects to correctional institutions and court proceedings

  • Responding to requests for help from citizens and other officers


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Illinois State Police Job Description

Officers with the Illinois State Police are required to perform a range of duties including traffic duty, preliminary investigation, reporting, search and arrest, canine patrol, crowd control, and surveillance. ISP highway patrol officers also perform roadside checks, including DUI enforcement. All troopers begin their careers with road service, performing routine traffic patrol and enforcement duties. After two years, troopers are eligible for transfer to special operations commands in such areas as fugitive apprehension, riverboat gaming, intelligence, and forensic services.

How Does A Police Department File A Reimbursement Claim

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The department must complete and submit the claim form promptly after the class ends. The directions are included when a form is downloaded. The Board’s fiscal year is from 7/01 to 6/30 of any year. The claim form must be submitted before July 15 of that year. See the next question for the forms required for reimbursement.

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Illinois Police Officer Requirements

The Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board oversees the states law enforcement hiring process by setting basic standards of eligibility. The requirements listed below are the minimum requirements for new recruits with all law enforcement departments in Illinois.

To become a police officer in Illinois, you must meet the following basic requirements:

  • Be a US citizen either by birth or naturalization
  • Be 21 years of age or older at the time of hire
  • Possess a valid drivers license
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Complete an approved basic training course within six months of initial hire
  • Not have any felony convictions nor convictions of disqualifying misdemeanors

While all law enforcement officers must hold these qualifications, individual departments are permitted to have additional requirements for new recruits beyond the state minimums. For example, Chicago police officers are required to have 60 semester hours of college credit or three years of consecutive military service, or a combination. Aurora police officers with college coursework or a degree are paid more than those with a high school diploma. Aspiring police officers in Naperville are required to have a bachelors degree by the time they begin employment with the department.

Police Reform Training Update

Posted: 4/16/2021

4/16/2021 POLICE REFORM TRAINING UPDATE Under the reforms of HB 3653 there are several additions to the general in-service mandates required of all experienced officers. With these, we expect the new list of mandates to reflect the list below .

At this time, staff is reviewing the master list of available MTU courses to determine if any existing classes meet the new mandates, and if none qualify, the Board will create guidelines for new courses to be offered at the MTU level. These will incorporate the changes to the use of force standards and new training specifications. As before, all MTU and Executive Institute courses will be tracked for each participating officer and these records will be available to demonstrate completion and compliance. Administrative Rules for these provisions are currently being drafted that will provide clear guidance as to how courses will be credited and tracked.

Additionally, the Board is working with the Executive Institute to present additional viewings of special trainings related specifically to the reforms of the SAFE-T Act to help chiefs, sheriffs, and administrators navigate the changes of this legislation. With these measures, we believe that the structure will be in place to present officers with ample opportunities to meet the initial annual and tri-annual deadlines of July 1, 2022 and July 1, 2024 respectively.

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    S To Become A Sheriff In Illinois

    Disclaimer: These steps may vary from county to county. To get a more detailed look into the exact requirements of your county, you can contact your local sheriffs office.

    A sheriff is responsible for the security of his/her entire county and its citizens. The element of responsibility involved in this job is huge therefore, it is important that you are properly trained for it. Getting enrolled in a police academy is the ideal way to do so. A police training academy would teach you the basics of various security procedures, including the use of firearms, crowd control methods, arresting procedures, constitutional law, and high speed driving, etc.

    Once you have cleared a police academy, you would have to work as an officer for a few years, before being eligible to apply to become a sheriff. The number of years of experience required would vary from county to county, but mostly it would be somewhere between one year to five years. You may need to obtain additional licensure and certification as well, so make sure you check your countys exact requirements before applying.

    Every county will have its own set of requirements for applicants. You are advised to visit the official county website or the courthouse in your county to get more details on this. As a general matter, the following requirements may be applicable in your county:

    Make sure you have met all requirements and are filing the documents before the deadline.

    Canines And Cannabis Training

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    There has been a growing concern among law enforcement over the possible impact the legalization of cannabis would have on narcotics detection dogs. Although we recognize the legalization of cannabis could create a number of issues for those narcotics detection dogs in service at the time if it is legalized, we must continue to follow current Illinois law. The current Illinois law requires all police dogs used by State and local law enforcement agencies for drug enforcement purposes pursuant to the Cannabis Control Act, the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, and the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act shall be trained by programs that meet the minimum certification requirements set by the Board. To meet the minimum certification requirements, all narcotics detection dogs must be trained to detect marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.

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    Peoria Illinois Corrections Officer Job Description

    Those interested in working as correctional officers in the Peoria area have a wide variety of facilities to choose from. There are several state correctional facilities in the region, along with county jails and a federal institution. Government agencies are looking for responsible and reliable officers to work in the jails and prisons in the Peoria area- providing a structured environment for inmates while at the same time encouraging innovative ideas for reform.

    Correctional officer jobs in Peoria may involve working with inmates in the nearby federal facility training dogs from a local animal shelter in basic behavior to prepare them for adoption for people with disabilities or terminal illness.

    Nearby facilities include:

    • Peoria County Jail

    Required Education for Correctional Officers

    The education requirements for correctional officer jobs depend on the hiring agency. The Pekin Federal Correctional Institute requires its officers to have at least a year of full-time work experience in a field relevant to corrections or a bachelors degree, with new officers being eligible to enter at a higher pay level for graduate studies in the fields of criminal justice, criminology, law, social science, or a related area.

    The Peoria County Sheriffs Office requires its correctional officers to have a high school diploma or equivalent.

    Corrections Officer Training Academies

    Beginning the Application Process

    Becoming A Police Officer In Naperville Illinois

    With a population of 144,560, there are often openings for Naperville police jobs in the area. On top of that, Naperville was named one of the best places to live by Money Magazine. The Naperville Police Department requires that you first complete various phases of testing before being enrolled in the police academy and becoming a full-time officer with the department.

    Here are the steps you must take when becoming a police officer in Naperville, Illinois:

    • Step 1. Review Eligibility Requirements
    • Step 2. Complete Application
    • Step 5. Background Check, Polygraph and Drug Screen
    • Step 6. Medical and Psychological Exams
    • Step 7. Training

    Step 1. Review Eligibility Requirements

    There are some requirements you must first meet before applying for a job with the department or being considered for a police officer position. When determining how to become a cop by meeting police officer requirements in Naperville, you must meet the following criteria:

    • Must be a U.S. citizen
    • Must have a Bachelors Degree
    • Must have a valid drivers license
    • Must be 21 years of age
    • Must be in good physical condition and of high moral character
    • Must have uncorrected 20/100 vision, and corrected 20/20 vision

    Step 2. Complete Application

    Step 3. Written Exam and Physical Agility Test

    Step 4. Interview

    Step 5. Background Check, Polygraph and Drug Screen

    Step 6. Medical and Psychological Exams

    Step 7. Training

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    What Reimbursement Form Do I Complete

    Three different reimbursement forms may be found online.

    The Basic Reimbursement form must be used for basic law enforcement or correction training when an employee becomes a full-time law enforcement officer or a full- time county correctional officer.

    The Part-Time Basic Reimbursement form must be used when an employee becomes a part-time officer.

    A Non-Basic Reimbursement form must be used for all other certified and reimbursable training listed in the State of Illinois Training Schedule of Board Certified Classes.

    Illinois Police Academy Requirements

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    The Illinois police academy requirements are similar to other states but unique in specific ways. Below you will find the full list of Indiana police academy requirements.

    Academy Training- Illinois police officer candidates are required to complete 400 hours of hands on training at a police academy.

    Age Requirement The applicant must be at least 21 years of age at time of employment. There is no upper age limit. Note: The on-line application asks if you are at least 21 years of age, or will be 21 within six months.

    Residency and Citizenship Requirement Applicants are required to be residents of Illinois with a valid Illinois drivers license. Additionally, applicants must be citizens of the United States of America.

    Educational Requirement Applicants must possess a high school diploma or General Equivalency Degree time of application. It is not a requirement that the diploma or GED be obtained within Illinois.

    Applicant will be required to take a written/oral examination, psychological test, as well as a polygraph examination.

    Automatic Disqualification Factors Applicants are advised that the Illinois State Police will automatically disqualify any applicant who does not meet the general requirements as detailed below. In addition, the following information is provided regarding our criteria for automatic disqualification:

    Physical Readiness



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    Fy 20 Iletsb Camera Grant Program

    Posted: 3/5/2020

    The Board is happy to announce that next round of camera grant awards is being prepared. Under this program, funds will be available to reimburse law enforcement agencies for officer-worn and in-car cameras purchased after July 1, 2019 and put into use before June 30, 2020. CAMERAS PURCHASED PRIOR TO JULY 1, 2019 ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR REIMBURSEMENT. Like the previous program, all agencies must be GATA approved and be compliant will all statutory and ILETSBobligations and training mandates upon application and prior to being awarded any funds. Only itemized cameras and associated training are eligible for reimbursement.

    Initial information for this round will be posted to the beginning in early March of 2020 and awards are expected to be announced very soon after. Applications will only be accepted until 5:00 pm on Friday May 29, 2020 and no extensions will be available. All equipment purchases must be made prior to the close of the States fiscal year on June 30, 2020 and proof of purchase and installation must be made prior to July 31, 2020.

    Agencies intending to apply for these grant funds must be prepared to submit the following:

    • Receipts of purchase and payment dated between 7/01/19 and 6/30/20.
    • The make, model and serial number for all cameras requested for reimbursement.
    • Receipts for implementation and or installation prior to 6/30/20.
    • Demographic data as requested by the Board.
    • Proof of pre-qualification as required under GATA

    Police Education And Training

    Police officers investigate and prevent crime, ensuring that law and order is maintained in every community. A challenging job, to become a police officer in Chicago the applicants must have a minimum 60 semester hours from an accredited college. A degree in criminal justice or criminal law is quite comprehensive and prepares students for a career in police force. Through a broad and engaging curriculum, students learn about state laws, crime, criminal investigation, and criminal justice framework. Most people aspiring to become a police officer opt for bachelors degree in criminal justice field. To pursue career as police officer, students can choose from various degree programs that include associates degree, bachelors degree, masters degree, and certification programs.

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    Attend A Basic Law Enforcement Course

    After you’ve passed the initial exam requirements for the role, you’re ready to start a Basic Law Enforcement course. BLE courses, commonly called police academies, are 14-week training programs that meet Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board requirements. These programs include classroom and practical learning opportunities on topics like the legal and effective use of resources, community policing, de-escalation techniques and social issues relevant to the field, such as cultural awareness.

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    Application & Testing Procedure

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    • P.O.W.E.R Test Card
    • Must be issued within 12 months of the application deadline date .
    • Required before the polygraph & psychological exams can be scheduled.
    • Applies to certified law enforcement officers as well.
    • Any applicant who needs to attend a police academy must be able to pass another P.O.W.E.R. test prior to starting the academy.
  • Complete application & pay non-refundable application processing fee
  • Complete online written examination
  • Preference points during testing process available:
  • Military Veterans
  • Prior Illinois-Certified Law Enforcement Experience
  • Bilingual Skills – Spanish/English
  • Joliet Police Cadet Experience
  • Oral board interview
  • Background investigation
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    Chicago Police Department Education And Training Division

    Once applicants have met all of the physical, administrative, and examination requirements, they are placed into the Chicago Police Departments Education and Training Division or Recruit Academy. The academy program consists of over 900 hours of basic recruit training over approximately six months and prepares CPD recruits to pass the Illinois State Peace Officers Certification Exam, the final exam necessary to become a sworn Chicago police officer. The basic structure of the training program covers firearms knowledge and use, control tactics, classroom, and physical training as well as scenario-based training. The curriculum also emphasizes the CPDs core values: professionalism, obligation, leadership, integrity, courage, and excellence, or, POLICE.

    For more information on Chicago recruit hiring and the police academy training process, consult the information found on the Chicago Police Recruitment Officer Recruitment page.

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