Director’s Message

Thank you again to everyone in the Department for being so welcoming and enthusiastic these first three weeks since I joined the team. The response of impacted districts to the “polar vortex” was strong and professional which came as no surprise to someone who knows and loves the Illinois State Police (ISP). It’s also been great to see so many old friends. Initial meetings with the outstanding personnel at District 15, District 9, District 11, the Academy, the Springfield Lab, the Chicago Lab, the Belleville Lab, the Director’s Office at the Bilandic Building, STIC, Air Operations, and Central Headquarters in Springfield have been motivating and instructive. There is work to be done- there always is- but I can clearly see whatever challenges lay ahead will be met by the strongest asset we have at this department: our people.

With that in mind, it’s been exciting to announce some initial personnel changes at the Director’s office level. First Deputy Director Davis, Assistant Deputy Director Lt. Col. Byrd, and Chief of Staff Canizares will serve the Department well as we encourage a culture that pushes decision-making down to the lowest level along with greater accountability for those decisions.

There will be additional personnel changes and updates to the Department’s organization in the immediate days ahead to address current needs. For instance, with nearly 500 personnel, the Division of Forensic Services (DFS) provides some of the most important services to this state and those who protect the public. As science and technology advance, professional forensic scientists must play a greater role in the leadership of the DFS. 

In addition to receiving feedback from so many of you within ISP, I have been reviewing the numerous statutes, ISP Directives, and agreements governing the Department to ensure we are complying with both the spirit and letter of the law.

Specifically, Illinois law established the Divisions of Operations, Internal Investigations, Forensic Services, and Administration. Illinois law also lays out the Academy and the Office of the Statewide 911 Administrator separate from the four other divisions. As many of you have pointed out, the Division of Administration (DOA) has become a bit of a catch-all for new functions created by the legislature, which has led that division to become a bit unwieldy. Therefore, we will be updating department organization to comply with statute and improve the efficacy of DOA by placing the Illinois State Police Academy and the Office of Statewide 911 Administrator under separate leadership reporting directly to the First Deputy Director.

The Academy is sacred ground and the birthplace of the next century of this department. With the real recruitment challenges facing all of law enforcement, the duties, functions, and resources for recruitment will also be placed under the Academy. Recruiting ethical and courageous talent that meets the high standards of ISP from college campuses, military veterans in transition, and experienced sworn personnel now serving in other police departments will be important goals of the Academy. The Academy will also focus on continuously modernizing curriculum to better meet operational needs, maintaining a regularized flow of cadet classes, and strengthening community relations to improve recruitment. 

The massive responsibilities established by the legislature for Statewide 911 are also critically important to this state and the Department. Aligning those requirements with our own internal communications improvements is necessary. Therefore, the Communications Services Bureau will logically move from DOA to the Office of Statewide 911 Administrator. This will better reflect the spirit of the Emergency Telephone System Act and will better support our over 130 outstanding telecommunicators.

I’ve also reviewed Illinois statutes and ISP Directive ROC-003 regarding the oath of sworn ISP personnel. 5 ILCS 250 establishes different oath requirements for gubernatorial appointees, including the Director. Therefore, it is my opinion I am not eligible for the uniform privileges set forth in ISP Directive EQP-007, “Uniforms,” which is consistent with the long, historical traditions of the Department.

Finally, I believe it’s important to have good communication throughout our team. In that spirit, I have asked our Public Information Office to begin the work of re-establishing the Department’s former “10-43” publication in a digital format. Sharing your successes not only energizes all of our work, but builds up good will among the public and policy makers that is essential to accomplishing the mission of the ISP. Every minute, every hour, every day, the men and women of the ISP are doing the sacred work of promoting the greater good. Everyone in this department should know it and everyone in this state should know it.

In the days and weeks ahead, I will be visiting every district, zone and lab and creating opportunities for the Director’s Office to hear and learn from all layers of the Department. On Lincoln’s Birthday, I was reminded of his “cabinet of rivals” leadership style which encouraged differing, clashing opinions and advice from the strongest, wisest minds to help make the best possible decisions. I’m counting on all of you to give your best counsel and your best effort. The people of this state who we serve deserve no less.

Respectfully,

Brendan Kelly

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