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State Police Update Trooper Eligibility

In an effort to build its ranks, the Illinois State Police (ISP) is updating the pre-employment requirements for people applying to become a trooper. A new law that took effect on January 1 makes changes to the Illinois State Police Act.


The new “Option Three” allows for current law enforcement officers with three years of continuous service at the same law enforcement agency to join the ranks of ISP quickly.

“ISP wants to recruit those who have shown they are dedicated to protecting the public,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “Recruiting an officer who has successfully completed basic law enforcement training and has three years of law enforcement experience, combined with comprehensive training through the ISP Academy, will allow ISP to more quickly assign experienced and highly trained troopers throughout the state.”

Changes were also made to “Option Two,” allowing more members of the armed forces to qualify.


All applicants, no matter what option they choose, must meet the following criteria to apply:


• Must be 21 years of age • Cannot have been convicted of a felony • Must possess a valid driver's license at the time of application • Willing to accept an assignment anywhere in the state of Illinois

In addition to meeting the minimum application criteria, applicants must also complete

one of the following options:


Option One: Associate degree or at least 60 credit hours from an accredited college or university. For those who apply under Option One, official, sealed transcripts showing a degree or credit hours earned are required at the time of application submission.

Option Two Education requirements are waived if applicant meets ONE of the following:

  • Honorably discharged AND has been awarded at least one of the qualifying medals by the United States Armed Forces.

  • 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 of the qualifying medals as a result of honorable service during deployment on active duty.

  • Honorably discharged AND served in a combat mission by proof of hostile fire pay or imminent danger pay during deployment on active duty.

  • Has at least three years of full active and continuous United States Armed Forces duty, which also includes a period of active duty with the State of Illinois under Title 10 or Title 32 of the United States Code pursuant to an order of the President or the Governor of the State of Illinois, and received an honorable discharge. For those who apply under Option Two, a DD-214 Long Form must be provided at the time of application submission.

Option Three Education requirements are waived if an applicant meets ALL of the following at the time of application:

  • Successfully completed basic law enforcement training

  • Has at least three years of continuous, full-time service as a peace officer with the same police department

  • Currently serving as a peace officer

For more information about becoming an Illinois State Trooper and to complete an application, interested candidates may visit the Illinois State Police Merit Board’s website or email ISP.Recruitment@illinois.gov.


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