Illinois State Police request nearly $800 million for FY23 budget
SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - Illinois State Police hope to receive a 12.5% increase in state funding in the next fiscal year. Director Brendan Kelly appeared before the Senate Appropriations - State Law Enforcement Committee Monday to make his request.
Kelly said increased funding can help bring on more state troopers, replace equipment and technology, and create a new state-of-the-art crime lab in Decatur. The proposed budget could also equip every trooper with a body camera.
State Police have asked for $793.7 million, with $328.1 million coming from the state’s general revenue fund and $465.6 million from other funds.
Kelly explained the most pressing need right now is growing the ranks of officers. He is commissioning two more cadet classes later this month, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker has already dedicated funding for 300 new cadets in his budget proposal. Kelly said this would be the largest investment for new cadets in Illinois State Police history.
He said that investment is needed because many older troopers are close to retirement.
“There’s a lot of duties that the public expects us to fulfill,” Kelly said. “And we want to be able to grow and get past 2,000 again, 2,000 sworn [troopers]. So that will get us there for this headcount.”
The ISP budget proposal calls for $13 million to cover costs associated with the cadet program, and $6 million is set aside for the training of state troopers.
State Police also requested $29 million for the Firearm Services Bureau, in charge of FOID cards and concealed carry licenses. Kelly also noted Monday that 99.76% of FOID card renewal applications are now being processed within the statutory time frame. As of Feb. 2, 98.59% of new FOID applications have been processed within the required 30 days.
Sen. Tony Muñoz (D-Chicago), a retired Chicago Police Officer, said state and local agencies have lost many officers over recent years to suicide. He suggested the state could invest more in mental health resources for all police.
“The difficult things that the men and women who serve deal with in terms of the trauma and evil that they have to confront on a daily basis, we know that it leaves its scars and weighs heavily on them,” Kelly said. “So, that is a major priority for us and we would appreciate any further guidance from the General Assembly.”
Kelly also said he is optimistic about the future for State Police, but he feels that trauma continues to weigh on troopers each day.
The proposed investment for the ISP forensics unit could help solve more gun crimes and missing person investigations. Kelly said he wants Illinois to be the best in the country for timely forensics investigations and stressed that the new center in Decatur is critical to making that happen.
State Police have a lease with the Howard G. Buffett Foundation to build out the DNA Center of Excellence. Kelly explained ISP will bring in the scientists, equipment, and technology to make it a functioning lab. State leaders hope to have that lab ready for employees in July.
“It will be open this year,” Kelly said. “It will be a nice hot day when it opens.”
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