how to become a police officer in Illinois

Table of Contents

Top 3 Red Flags That will Likely Cause an
Agency to pause on hiring you

Serious Misdemeanors

Misdemeanor arrests and subsequent convictions won't necessary eliminate you from the selection process, but convictions like domestic violence and a pattern of lawlessness will not be tolerated by many law enforcement agencies in IL.


Intentionally being dishonest on documents during the hiring process that are meant to evaluate your suitability as a candidate will disqualify you from the process. This also include Making statements that you know aren't true.

posting tasteless photos

Posting pictures of yourself getting drunk and using drugs on social media is one way to get eliminated from the hiring process. Agencies are looking for recruits with good characters, and posting tasteless photos aren't a good sign.

WATCH: Pros and Cons of Being a Cop

Illinois Police Requirements:

Minimum Qualifications

Disqualification factors to be aware of:


Complete an Application Online
Written Examination
Oral Board Interview
Background Check
Drug Screening
Medical Exam
Psychological Investigation
Illinois Police Training Academy
Field Training Evaluation (FTO)

Illinois State Police Academy Academy Training


The primary purpose of the Illinois State Police Academy is to prepare new officers for a career in law enforcement. The Academy provides training for cadets (future ISP officers) and recruits (future local law enforcement officers). 

  • Basic Hostage Negotiation
  • Basic Juvenile Officers
  • Breath Alcohol
  • Canine
  • Control and Arrest Tactics (C.A.T.)
  • CPR/First Aid
  • Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.)
  • Electronic Criminal Surveillance
  • Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (E.V.O.C.)
  • Firearms Training System (F.A.T.S.)
  • First Responder
  • Footwear and Tiretracks Identification
  • Hate Crimes
  • Law Enforcement Photography
  • Leadership Institute/Mentoring Program
  • Management and Personal Development
  • Motor Vehicle Theft Investigation
  • Narcotics Investigation
  • Observer Sniper School
  • Police Cyclist
  • Police Firearms Instructor School
  • Radar Instructor and Operator
  • Second Division and Overweight Vehicle Enforcement
  • Standard Field Sobriety Testing Instructor
  • Tactical Response School
  • Traffic Crash Investigation
  • Underwater Search and Recovery Ice Diving

Specialized Units in Illinois

Airport Unit
Air Support Unit
Communications (Dispatch)
Community Engagement
Crime Prevention
Elder Abuse
Crime Scene Specialists
Criminal Investigations
Cold Cases
Document & Financial Crimes
Special Victims Unit
Crisis Intervention Team
Diversity Team
Evidence Section
Field Training Officer Program
Forensic Services
Fusion Center
Gang Unit
Work Release
Self Surrender
Information Technology
Internship Positions
Media Relations
Family Violence Unit
Sex Trafficking
Sex Offender Notification
Enforcement & Tracking
Victim Services
Missing Persons
Municipal Security
Off Duty Employment
Organized Crime
Photo Safety Program
Red Light Cameras
School Zone Safety Cameras
Policy & Procedures
Professional Standards (Internal Affairs)
School Resource Officers
Volunteer Program

According to U.S. labor of bureau statistics (2018) the average salary for a police officer in Illinois is...

$ 1 *
Average Salary
$ 1 /HR*

* The base pay above does not Include holiday pay, longevity pay, education level, uniform allowance, shift differential and overtime. Cops can potentially earn more than the figure above suggest.

Average Pay Percentile Breakdown

The percentile wage estimate below is the value of a wage below which  certain percent of workers fall. Data collected from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018)

10th Percentile
25th Perentile
50th percentile
75th percentile
90th percentile

Find Best Police Jobs in Illinois

Click below to search for police jobs near me in IL. Browse jobs by city/county or zip code


The information below may have changed, please visit the official webpage of the agency that you are interested for up-to-date details.

When pursing a career in law enforcement one will be placed on the eligibility list after successfully passing all the required steps in the selection process. In some agencies the list expires after one year. However, typically the expiration date is extended for an additional year.

 The application and testing process will probably occur in the Spring or summer months (it’s best to verify the testing date with the agency that you want to work for). If you would like to be placed on the notification list, we recommend that you sign up directly with the law enforcement agency that you are interested in working for.


  • U.S. Citizen
  • AT LEAST 20 years of age (will not hire until 21st birthday)
  • Under the age of 35 when the eligibility list becomes effective
  • High school graduate or GED equivalent
  • Possess a valid driver’s license with good driving record
  • Some require that you reside within the City limits of the Illinois agency that you are interested in (within 15 months of date of appointment)

    General statement of duties
    Performs general duty police work in protection of life and property, enforcement of laws and investigation of crimes; does related work as required.

    Distinguishing features of the class
    The work of this class involves responsibility for the protection of life and property, prevention of crime, apprehension of criminals and the general enforcement of laws and ordinances in a designated area on an assigned shift or on special assignments. Duties normally consist of routine patrol, preliminary investigation, and traffic regulation which may be performed in cruiser cars or on foot.

Police Patrol Officers also may be assigned duties as detective, youth counselors, evidence technicians, jailers, or police dispatchers. The work involves an element of personal danger and the employee must be able to act without direct supervision and to exercise independent judgment in meeting emergencies. Assignments may include work at headquarters on special tasks which call upon specialized abilities and knowledge. Work assignments are general and special instructions are received from a superior officer who revises work methods and results through reports, personal inspection and discussion.

Examples of work for a police officer:

  • Patrols city streets, roads and public places, either on foot or in an automobile in a designated area
  • Identifies violations of laws and ordinances
  • Assists in the prevention of juvenile delinquency by consulting, interviewing, and advising public school counseling departments, parents and juveniles
  • Prevents, calms and/or resolves criminal or emergency situations from occurring
  • Becomes and remains familiar with patrol areas, known offenders and their meeting places, community routines, and other potential problem areas
  • Identifies potential security problems either to personal safety or property, and then informs and recommends improvements to the appropriate person or official
  • Ascertains all facts available at the crime/accident scene by taking statements, conducting interviews and/or interrogation of victims, witnesses, suspects and other persons
  • Conducts preliminary and follow-up investigations of all pending matters
  • Identifies, collects, processes, properly stores and logs physical evidence
  • Searches persons, vehicles, places and other items
  • Enforces city ordinances and state and federal laws by identifying and arresting offenders which may include physically subduing resistant violators
  • Processes prisoners by fingerprinting, photographing, safeguarding and preparing bond records
  • Assists attorneys by documenting cases for court representation and offering testimony in court, at coroner’s inquests, at dispositions and other pertinent proceedings
  • Enforces motor vehicle and parking regulations on streets and roads
  • Directs traffic and enforces speed limits
  • Investigates automobile accidents, interviewing witnesses, gathering information, locating and identifying hit and run vehicles, and making detailed reports
  • Investigates juvenile cases and maintains records on juvenile cases including follow-up investigations and making recommendations to the disposition of cases
  • Observes for, recognizes, corrects and/or reports public hazards and other safety hazards
  • Responds to requests for ambulance/fire service and assists as needed including performing basic life-saving techniques
  • Administers first-aid, including CPR, to sick and injured persons
  • Operates police radio communications system and dispatches cars where needed and performs other related duties
  • Issues citations, makes arrests, and takes prisoners to jail
  • Gives information and public relations speeches to school children for neighborhood watch programs and other interested persons
  • Identifies and arbitrates community conflicts and programs and assists in developing community relations programs
  • Participates in the guidance, training and orientation of new officers and officers in training
  • Attends regular training classes in police methods, first-aid, target practice and other related duties
  • Prepares and develops special reports and documents as requested

Required knowledge, skills and abilities

  • Some working knowledge of the street layout and population pattern of the city;
  • some working knowledge of the common laws covering traffic and general behavior;
  • ability to react quickly and calmly to emergency police situations; ability to drive an automobile safely and efficiently;
  • excellent physical condition;
  • ability to pay close attention to audio and visual detail to identify violators and accurately describe crime scenes;
  • ability to exercise good judgment to identify violations of the law and handle difficult situations;
  • ability to operate vehicles safely for long periods of time and to patrol assigned areas;
  • ability to document information accurately;
  • ability to analyze and interpret information to determine nature of the complaint and/or violation;
  • ability to physically subdue resistant violators;
  • ability to effectively manage stressful situations;
  • ability to perform emergency life-saving techniques safely;
  • ability to document results of investigation to provide accurate descriptions of events;
  • ability to proficiently use firearms;
  • ability to perform physically demanding tasks such as climbing stairs and/or ladders,
  • chasing fleeing suspects, lifting and carrying injured persons, etc.

Acceptable experience and training

  • Completion of a standard high school course,
  • preferably supplemented by some college level work, and meeting the age, and other physical requirements prescribed by the city/county that you are interested at the time of examination; or any equivalent combination of experience and training which provides the required knowledge, skills and abilities.
  • Listed below is a brief summary of compensation around the state
    average salary is around 50k+ however visit the agency that you are interested in working for.


All uniforms/equipment provided
Voluntary tuition reimbursement program for approved coursework

* prescription plan
*Life insurance coverage 
*sick days annually (accumulative)
*Comprehensive health and dental plans covering employee & dependents 
*1-2 weeks vacation 
*paid holidays


Does departments in Illinois accept lateral transfers/moves?
Yes. Many agencies have what they call a modified academy for police officers with (2+ years ) of law enforcement experience.

When will they hold the next testing date?
You’ll have to check with the agency you are interested in working for, but usually bigger agencies test more often than smaller ones.

How does the hiring process work?
Some agencies hire off an eligibility list that is compiled months prior. All interested candidates are asked to submit a lengthy application during which time they are given a list of dates for the various tests that will take place.

first test scheduled is the written. All persons that do not pass this test are eliminated from candidacy at that point. All persons that do pass the test are assigned dates for the oral and physical agility tests. The combined scores from these three tests are then ranked.

The person that receives the best combined score is ranked highest. When an opening becomes available in the department, created through retirements, resignations and expansion, the eligibility list is reviewed by the Fire and Police Board. They then review candidates’ applications, and determine whether to hire the next eligible candidate on the list.

What is your physical agility test comprised of?
The test is conducted by the agency itself or by an independent testing company. Although it is likely to change, the last test conducted required candidates to listen to a suspect description, climb over a fence, run up and down bleachers, climb under obstacles, run around obstacles, pick out the mannequin that best meets the earlier description, and drag a 170 lb dummy twenty-five feet.

How many people, on average, make the final eligibility list?
call the recruiter of the agency

How many people, on average, actually get hired before the list expires?
call your recruiter

Do I have to have a degree?
Yes and No. some agencies want education beyond a high school degree, while other don’t require it. Most however do require a minimum education level of a high school diploma or GED for all patrol officers.

Would a major in criminal justice better my chances?
It could be an advantage when completing the written test, but no extra points are given to anyone that holds a law enforcement degree.

I have previously completed a certified police academy. If hired, would I have to repeat this training?
Usually No, but please check with the agency you want to work for. Some won’t require that you re-enter the police academy. You would, however, have to complete approximately 8-12 weeks of field training. This includes two weeks of intra-department orientation, fourteen weeks of field training, and two weeks of shadow training.

What is the age cut-off?
All potential patrol officers must have reached their twenty-first birthday by date of hire. In addition, they cannot have reached their thirty-fifth birthday when the hiring list is posted.

Will experience waive the entry age?

Do current police officers from other agencies that are hired receive any other benefits?
The only benefit is not having to repeat the police academy training.

Is the start-off pay the same even if you have prior police experience?
check with the recruiter of the agency that you want to work for

Can an application be mailed out to me?
applications are usually online

If hired, does the department pay for uniforms, equipment, etc.?
At hire, the Police Department provides all uniforms and equipment, including bulletproof vest.

Does military experience help?
Some agencies yes. Patrol officer candidates with military experience receive additional points on the final eligibility list. This could translate into a higher position on the list. For example, if your final score was an 82, and you were number 17 on the list, with military points, you could receive as many as 5 additional points, placing you much higher on the list.

How long is the police academy?
Approximately twelve weeks.

Will the department pay for academy training?
Yes. All expenses for the training are paid by the agency

Can I go through the hiring process being out of state?
Yes. All candidates must attend an orientation session, the physical agility test, and the written test. If the candidate scores well enough, he or she will be invited to an oral examination. Once a candidate is being considered for employment, he or she will have to return again for a physical examination, polygraph and psychological exam.

Is there a residency requirement?
some agency require that you live within city limits, while others don’t.

How long do I have to meet this requirement?
Patrol officers have until their probationary period ends, which is one year.

Are there any out-of-pocket expenses I should know about?
expenses are different for every agency. However, once an officer is hired, all uniforms and equipment are provided through contractual agreement.

After being hired, how does promotions work? (Investigations, Evidence, etc.)
When an opening becomes available, officers with a minimum of three years experience can express their interest. An interview process takes place, and the interviewers develop an eligibility list similar to the hiring list. As openings become available, persons are assigned to these units according to their rank on the list.

What kind of hours should I expect to work?
Normally is different for every agency. Usually new officers are assigned to the relief shift after completing their field training.

Is there overtime available?
Usually once released from their field training officer, new patrol officers are allowed to work overtime

How does the department handle active military leave?
Usually officers are allowed to go on military leave, and will be reimbursed their regular patrol officer pay provided they forward their military pay to the agency.

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List of Police Departments in Illinois

dams County Sheriff Department
Alexander County Sheriff Department
Bond County Sheriff Department
Boone County Sheriff Department
Brown County Sheriff Department
Bureau County Sheriff Department
Calhoun County Sheriff Department
Carroll County Sheriff Department
Cass County Sheriff Department
Champaign County Sheriff Department
Christian County Sheriff Department
Clark County Sheriff Department
Clay County Sheriff Department
Clinton County Sheriff Department
Coles County Sheriff Department
Cook County Sheriff Department
Crawford County Sheriff Department
Cumberland County Sheriff Department
DeKalb County Sheriff Department
Dewitt County Sheriff Department
Douglas County Sheriff Department
DuPage County Sheriff Department
Edgar County Sheriff Department
Edwards County Sheriff Department
Effingham County Sheriff Department
Fayette County Sheriff Department
Ford County Sheriff Department
Franklin County Sheriff Department
Fulton County Sheriff Department
Gallatin County Sheriff Department
Greene County Sheriff Department
Grundy County Sheriff Department
Hamilton County Sheriff Department
Hancock County Sheriff Department
Hardin County Sheriff Department
Henderson County Sheriff Department
Henry County Sheriff Department
Iroquois County Sheriff Department
Jackson County Sheriff Department
Jasper County Sheriff Department
Jefferson County Sheriff Department
Jersey County Sheriff Department
Jo Daviess County Sheriff Department
Johnson County Sheriff Department
Kane County Sheriff Department
Kankakee County Sheriff Department
Kendall County Sheriff Department
Knox County Sheriff Department
LaSalle County Sheriff Department
Lake County Sheriff Department
Lawrence County Sheriff Department
Lee County Sheriff Department
Livingston County Sheriff Department
Logan County Sheriff Department
Macon County Sheriff Department
Macoupin County Sheriff Department
Madison County Sheriff Department
Marion County Sheriff Department
Marshall County Sheriff Department
Mason County Sheriff Department
Massac County Sheriff Department
Mc Donough County Sheriff Department
Mc Henry County Sheriff’s Department
Mc Lean County Sheriff Department
Menard County Sheriff Department
Mercer County Sheriff Department
Monroe County Sheriff Department
Montgomery County Sheriff Department
Morgan County Sheriff Department
Moultrie County Sheriff Department
Ogle County Sheriff Department
Peoria County Sheriff Department
Perry County Sheriff Department
Piatt County Sheriff Department
Pike County Sheriff Department
Pope County Sheriff Department
Pulaski County Sheriff Department
Putnam County Sheriff Department
Randolph County Sheriff Department
Richland County Sheriff Department
Rock Island County Sheriff Department
Saint Clair County Sheriff Department
Saline County Sheriff Department
Sangamon County Sheriff Department
Schuyler County Sheriff Department
Scott County Sheriff Department
Shelby County Sheriff Department
Stark County Sheriff Department
Stephenson County Sheriff Department
Tazewell County Sheriff Department
Union County Sheriff Department
Vermilion County Sheriff Department
Wabash County Sheriff Department
Warren County Sheriff Department
Washington County Sheriff Department
Wayne County Sheriff Department
White County Sheriff Department
Whiteside County Sheriff Department
Will County Sheriff Department
Williamson County Sheriff Department
Winnebago County Sheriff Department
Woodford County Sheriff Department
Abingdon PD
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Metropolis PD
Midlothian PD[citation needed]
Milan PD[citation needed]
Milford PD[citation needed]
Milledgeville PD
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