The Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board (Board) voted to establish a new residential Police Academy and Research Institute at Western Illinois University in Macomb. The vote took place at the Board’s quarterly meeting held in Chicago on September 8, 2011. The Board also voted to expand the current police academy located at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville (SWIC) to residential status. The Board also certifies the following police academies: the Chicago Police Academy, the Illinois State Police Academy, the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Academy, the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy at the College of DuPage, and the Police Training Institute at the University of Illinois.
The Board oversees twelve recruit basic law enforcement and corrections academies in Illinois; sixteen Mobile Training Units which provide certified training courses to current police officers as continuing education; and funds a number of law enforcement executive training programs, which includes the Board’s Executive Institute at Western Illinois University. The Board’s provides much of the training at no cost to units of local government through a budget of over $14 million, funded entirely by the Traffic and Criminal Conviction Surcharge Fund.
Western Illinois University in Macomb includes the School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration, in which undergraduate students may receive a degree in Criminal Justice. This program in Criminal Justice is the 4th largest in the United States, and has a 41 year history of excellence.
Initial plans are for a residential academy that will train newly hired police officers and deputy sheriffs for units of local government. The academy will train officers in the state mandated Basic Law Enforcement and Corrections courses taught to all new officers in the state, as well as offer other courses of instruction to the officers of police agencies across the state. The new academy will also include a Research Institute that will provide research capabilities to the Board, allowing for the Board to evaluate current law enforcement training curriculum and training methodology, and adjust such training to keep Illinois law enforcement personnel among the best trained in the nation.
The decision to establish the new academy was brought about by the announcement by the University of Illinois last November to close the Police Training Institute at the U of I. PTI has existed as a police academy since 1955, and trained thousands of police officers for many of the agencies across Illinois. The Board’s Executive Director, Kevin McClain, commented on the history of PTI at Champaign, “The Board certainly appreciates the fine job of training recruit officers that PTI has performed for the past 56 years, and looks forward to providing the excellent quality training and research at our new Academy and Research Institute at Western Illinois University.”
Adams County Sheriff Brent Fischer, current Chairman of the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, said “We look forward to our new partnership with WIU, an established national leader in Criminal Justice, and SWIC, an established statewide leader in Public Safety training. These partnerships will allow us to continue to provide high quality basic training for law enforcement recruits.”