Illinois State Police History

The Illinois State Police began service to the state with the appointment of the first director, John J. Stack, and the first eight men as highway patrol officers on April 1, 1922. The equipment consisted of surplus World War one motorcycles and uniforms for the eight officers. The mission was to enforce the weight laws of the state protecting the “hard roads” from damage caused by overweight trucks. The force and the mission increased over time.

In 1972, the 50th anniversary, finds the ISP had become a leader in law enforcement across the nation. The department had 1,709 sworn officers and 602 civilian employees working across the state.

As we approach our 100th anniversary in 2022, the ISP currently has 1836 sworn officers and 1084 civilian employees. The Division of Patrols’ services entail: aircraft support for enforcement and public assistance; vehicle investigations; K-9 support for tracking and drug detection; presentations to the public on traffic safety and crime prevention; criminal investigations to detect and suppress the traffic of illicit drugs; develop strategic and tactical criminal intelligence data; investigate serious offenses; apprehend fugitives; and the communications network. Patrol also provides support to many county, municipal and federal law enforcement agencies.

The efforts of both state and municipal police officers are supplemented by the Division of Forensic Services, providing crime scene services, polygraph services, background checks requisite to the purchase of firearms and strategically located crime laboratories.

The Division of Internal Investigation specializes in investigating alleged misconduct, corruption, conflict of interest and malfeasance within any agency under the jurisdiction of the governor.

The Division of Justice Services is responsible for administrative support required by all department entities. This division centralizes the department's data processing, fiscal, logistical, and personnel.

The Division of Criminal Investigation serves through 8 investigative zones spread across the state. This division specializes in criminal investigations of a high-profile nature and in support of local law enforcement.