Message from the Director

Subject: Turning Point

The once-in-a-generation challenges confronting law enforcement last year continued earlier this year. There is no point in tiptoeing around it – this period was tough. However, the ISP has led the way in Illinois during this time, sometimes overtly, sometimes quietly, but always clearly and honestly. Timing is everything.

We have continued to row forward to rebuild the Illinois State Police – sometimes with “muffled oars,” but forward – to lay an enduring foundation for our second century. It’s been my privilege to administer the Oath of an Illinois State Police Officer to 235 new Troopers in the last two years, and I look forward to swearing in CC 133, 134, 135 and beyond.

That enduring oath contains nearly everything needed to meet the trials and demands of recent times – “to be just, fair, and impartial; …friendly but impartial, courteous but firm, and charitable to the inadvertent violator.” These values are why people from all walks of life have looked to the ISP for leadership during a time of intense scrutiny for law enforcement.

So much of the history of the ISP over the past century has been about the pursuit of justice, much like the history of our great country. In pursuing justice and public safety, crime declined for many years starting in the 1990s across our country including in many parts of Illinois.

Now we are at a turning point.

As in previous periods of ISP history, violent crime specifically is on the rise in parts of our state. Like those before us, we must rise to meet it and turn the tide, where it is our singular duty to do so.

In a messy, rough and tumble democracy, our fellow citizens will always debate how best to pursue justice, in all its forms. But one thing remains clear to everyone who cares about our common future:

There is no justice without the law, and there is no law without law enforcement.

The primary challenge for law enforcement now is violent crime. For the ISP, our effort against violent crime is being fought on many fronts, from one end of the state to the other. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be communicating with you all about each of those fronts and the decisions and actions we must take together to prevail. From the Director’s office to every corner of this agency, the use of our resources, technology, and personnel; the way we organize ourselves; our priorities with policy makers in the executive branch and legislative branch; our own policies and directives; our strengthening relationships with the communities we serve; our strategies and tactics; and the health and wellness of all personnel must be driven by and viewed through a basic metric:

Advancing the cause of justice against violent crime through enforcement of the law.

This is a mission for all personnel and divisions of the ISP, not just a few. It’s a mission that’s part of our strategic plan, and it’s a mission that is deeply embedded in the DNA, history, culture, and values of the ISP. Fighting crime, particularly violent crime, is why the ISP exists. If the status quo in any of our daily choices and operations does not help us accomplish that mission, then we must challenge ourselves, including me, to fix it and fix it quick.

Ultimately, the oath of an Illinois State Police Officer again contains what’s needed to meet the moment: “…to be steadfast against evil…and… never compromise with crime…”

Current events have presented this agency with an opportunity and a demand to fulfill that oath. We’ll talk more in the weeks ahead about how we can live up to this oath together.

Stay healthy; stay safe; and God Bless you, your families, and the ISP.

--Director Brendan F. Kelly