Becoming a police officer in Illinois requires training at one of the many police training academies across the state. The job can be high-stress and physically demanding, but it also provides opportunities that few other positions can offer. On a regular basis, police officers are capable of positively influencing the community that they serve. With over 30,000 people employed in Illinois’ police force, law enforcement is a great way to make a difference in people’s lives. And at an average salary of almost $67,000, you are well-compensated for your time and the risks you undertake in the name of public service. In order to become a cadet, you must train at one of six basic academies in the state, though there are also options for in-service training at Mobile Team Units.
All applicants that wish to become police officers must be at least 21 years old, have a valid driver’s license, and be a legal resident of the United States. Throughout the application process, there will be several screening tests and background checks to select cadets from the large pool of applicants. The first type of testing is a written test, in which the applicants are subjected to a variety of questions about law enforcement protocol, civil rights, and situational awareness. The next type of screening will be physical examinations and evaluations. Cadets are screened for any life-threatening conditions and other health complications that will affect their ability to operate as a police officer. Vision tests, hearing tests, and reflex tests accompany physical trials that are designed to evaluate the strength and stamina of each cadet. The background checks are very thorough, and applicants are screened based on their criminal history and financial history. Any applicant with drug-related or violent misdemeanors will not make it through the screening process, and multiple-DUIs or felonies will also be red flags on an application. In terms of financial history, any applicant with an unfavorable credit score may also be turned away from the training academies.
Popular Police Academies
There are six police academies approved to provide basic training to cadets by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board. One of the most popular of these police academies is the Chicago Police Academy based in downtown Chicago. This location provides basic training for the bulk of the city’s law enforcement officers, and there are several Mobile Team Units in the city for in-service training as well. The Mobile Team Unit nearest to the city is the Timothy JO Training Center. Other nearby police academies include the Southwestern Police Academy and the Cook County Sheriff’s Department Training Academy. In southern Illinois, the most popular police academies are based around Springfield and in the college-town of Champaign-Urbana. These institutions are the Illinois State Police Academy and the Police Training Institute. Basic training can also be completed at the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy at the College of DuPage in Glenn Ellyn.