Illinois State Police Celebrating 100 Years

Governor J.B. Pritzker, ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly, and Captain (retired) Donald V. Norton

Earlier this week, Governor JB Pritzker was joined by Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Brendan F. Kelly in proclaiming April 1, 2022 – April 1, 2023 the “Illinois State Police Centennial” to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of ISP. On April 1, 1922, the first eight original sworn patrol officers and two civilian employees comprised the Illinois State Highway Police under the direction of Superintendent John Stack. Now, 100 years later, the Illinois State Police has grown to nearly 3,000 sworn and civilian employees under the leadership of Director Brendan F. Kelly.

To reduce crime, ISP is adding hundreds of sworn officers to its ranks after years of funding cuts under previous administrations. Funding has also helped increase the number of ISP forensic scientists and evidence technicians leading to a reduction of the overall forensic backlog by 72% over the past two years. To further this progress, ISP is building a new, state-of-the-art crime lab near Joliet and opening another facility in Decatur to help bring justice to victims and survivors.

“Illinois can only thrive when its people are safe, and it’s our Illinois State Police who make it possible for working families to safely live their lives, on the road and in their neighborhoods,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I’m proud to have funded the growth of ISP every year since I took office. These are the investments that set the foundation for ISP’s next century, ensuring that Illinois will continue to lead in supporting public safety.”

ISP protects Illinois residents by patrolling roadways, responding to calls for service, investigating violent crimes, conducting narcotics investigations, and maintaining critical law enforcement information technology systems for the criminal justice community. Additionally, ISP provides vital firearms services, including the Violent Crime Intelligence Task Force, Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) Card, concealed carry licenses, and gun dealer licensing. When needed, ISP provides critical support to other law enforcement agencies throughout the State, including forensic services and 9-1-1 call centers.

“I am honored to serve as the director of an agency driven by excellence and bound by integrity, service, and pride to protect the safety and rights of the people of Illinois and improve their quality of life,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “I want to thank the great men and women who have worked at the Illinois State Police over the past 100 years and helped build one of the premier policing agencies in the country.”

ISP is comprised of the Divisions of Patrol Operations, Forensic Services, Justice Services, Academy and Training, Internal Investigation, Statewide 9-1-1, and the Division of Criminal Investigation reestablished under Governor Pritzker.

ISP has evolved over the years from a mobile laboratory established in 1942 to the two new laboratories in the works. One person who has seen many of those changes is 91-year-old retired ISP Captain Donald V. Norton. In addition to his service at ISP from 1960-1990 in the Division of Narcotic Control, Division of Criminal Investigation, and as a District Commander, Captain Norton remains committed to ISP and has provided flags for each cadet and recruit class, as well as all the ISP Divisions. As part of the Illinois State Police Centennial, Captain Norton was awarded an Achievement Medal to honor his commitment for his contributions that go far beyond the normal career.

On April 1, 2022, there will be an Uncasing and Activation of the Official Colors Ceremony at the Bank of Springfield (BOS) Center in Springfield to mark 100 years since the founding of the ISP and honor the ISP Officers who gave their lives to protect the people of Illinois.

For the month of April, the Illinois State Police flag will be flown atop the Illinois State Capitol in honor of all those who have served under ISP over the past 100 years and the unwavering commitment to safety and justice for all Illinois residents.

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