FILE - Brendan Kelly, Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly

Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly in Springfield.

Illinois State Police officials hope that by dropping the bachelor’s degree requirement, the agency will be able to grow the agency's ranks with an influx of new trooper applicants.

The agency has also extended the deadline for new applicants for the agency's next cadet class.

The moves come as agency officials try to get more people to apply to be state troopers. Illinois State Police Director Branden Kelly said he wants to significantly increase the number of sworn officers. 

The deadline for applications is Jan. 31.

State Police Master Sgt. Hector Alejandre said because of a new state law, applicants do not need a bachelor’s degree.

In August, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 124, which amended the requirements for troopers. Applicants now need an associate’s degree or 60 college class credit hours. The new law goes into effect Jan. 1. Officials pushed back the application deadline to accommodate applicants who will now qualify. Even though the new requirements don’t become official until Jan. 1, Alejandre said applicants without a bachelor’s degree can start applying now.

After graduating from the Illinois State Police Academy, the first-year base salary for a state trooper is $60,936.

Applicants need to pass a fitness test and background check. The physical fitness test includes a sit-up portion, sit and reach portion, bench press and a timed mile and a half run. Alejandre said those who are hired by the Illinois State Police must be willing to work in any of the 21 state police districts in Illinois.

The next cadet class for the Illinois State Police is tentatively scheduled for August. All cadet class graduates start off in the patrol division. Alejandre said from there, troopers can move into any area of the state police, including investigations, K-9, motorcycle and air patrol.

There is a $30 application fee that goes along with the online application. Applications and a complete list of requirements are available at IllinoisTrooper.com.

Staff Reporter

A Chicago area radio news veteran, Jim Moran covers statewide issues for The Center Square. Previously, he has worked as a news reporter/anchor and traffic reporter for numerous radio stations across Illinois and the St. Louis metro area.