FILE - Brendan Kelly, Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly

Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly in Springfield.

Illinois State Police officials are working on a new service to reduce a backlog of more than 60,000 new, changed or renewal requests for Firearm Owners' Identification cards, but it’s expensive and will take time.

The Illinois State Police posted an update on the agency's Facebook page Saturday that said it has about "62,000 FOID applications under review which includes new, renewals and changes.”

The post said the agency is still working with Presidio, an IT services vendor that has contracts with a number of other state agencies, to implement a service that will eventually allow residents to handle many issues via automated voice prompts.

“The ISP’s FSB is currently working on implementing a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solution to provide improvements and efficiencies to the call center,” the statement said. 

The new initiative was announced in November. It’s estimated to cost $750,000 with a recurring monthly cost of $10,000. The costs are being paid for through the State Police Firearm Services Fund, which recently came under scrutiny after lawmakers swept millions of dollars from the fund. ISP reportedly did not request that money be repaid back into the fund. 

“The new system will allow for not only an automated process of an application, such as completing an application without having to an agent, but it will also be interactive,” ISP Sgt. Jacqueline Cepeda said.

She said that the service will also allow applicants to pay fees without speaking to a live operator.

There is no timeline for completion of the automation program, Cepeda said. 

FOID cardholders who applied for renewal before their card expired still remain in good standing to exercise their Second Amendment rights to own firearms, ISP said. 

For those needing assistance with other FOID-related issues or questions about Concealed Carry Licenses, Cepeda said ISP has four options.

“Until improvements in the call center are completed, there are four methods for obtaining assistance with FOID/CCL related issues,” the Facebook post said. “Applicants may call (217) 782-7980; they can visit the Illinois State Police home page and click the Firearms tab to the left where they will find a section related directly to FOID/CCL, complete with a FAQ section: https://www.ispfsb.com/; for video tutorials related to FOID/CCL, they can visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqmvVzpfjsojFnd50HndO5A; or they can email the FSB at isp.askfoid@illinois.gov where a customer service agent can provide assistance.”

Staff Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Bloomington/Normal and Peoria, and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.