In the Illinois State Police’s (ISP) early days, training efforts were primarily devoted to pistol practice, “drill,” and motorcycle operation. Today, ISP cadets must successfully complete 26 weeks of training which balances classroom instruction, physical skills training, and scenario-based training exercises. Training covers specific learning objectives and cadets must demonstrate both their knowledge of these objectives and their ability to apply them in a controlled setting.
After receiving classroom instruction, cadets are evaluated on the application of learning objectives during a series of practical exercises strategically placed throughout their training. During practical exercise training, performance is measured based upon the cadet’s demonstrated knowledge, skills, and abilities. These practical exercises are designed to challenge cadet critical thinking and decision-making skills while providing a realistic view of scenarios they may face upon the completion of training in a controlled environment. Although not exhaustive, some of the exercises include traffic stops, arrest scenarios, disturbance calls, and civil disorders.
After successful completion of 26 weeks of training, the cadets are sworn-in as Illinois State Troopers during a formal ceremony which the cadet’s families are invited to attend. Beginning in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, these formal ceremonies were cancelled and instead conducted following CDC guidelines; outdoors, limiting the number of cadets during each ceremony, no family or additional guests, keeping 6 feet of distance, wearing approved Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). YouTube Link of Ceremony - https://youtu.be/6mxHSzcTyk8
The new troopers continue their one-year probationary period by reporting to their assigned district and participating in the Field Training Officer (FTO) program. Their FTOs are experienced ISP officers who provide instruction, evaluate performance, and mentor them as they transition from the Academy to the field. Depending on the probationary trooper’s performance, they will be paired with a minimum of three FTOs spread out over 14 weeks. Once a probationary trooper successfully completes the FTO program, they will begin their patrol duties on their own. During this time, the probationary trooper’s performance will continue to be evaluated until their probationary period ends. Once the yearlong probationary period ends, the Trooper can continue to carry out the mission of the ISP for the remainder of their career.