Springfield – Police Department’s will soon have an easier time hiring qualified police officers, thanks to legislation sponsored by State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) and signed into law by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner.
“Anything we can do to make the recruitment and hiring process easier for our police departments will allow them to spend more time on their primary mission, keeping us safe,” said Sen. Barickman. “This legislation will allow our departments to speed up the hiring recruitment process while potentially improving the candidate pool.”
Under the prior law and the rules of many police boards of commissioners, police applicants would often be required to have a college degree, whether it is an associate’s or bachelor’s. Recruits who attend 4-year universities typically don’t have a degree until they are finished with their full bachelor’s degree program. This situation left many of the 4-year college students unable to apply for employment as an officer even though they may have more college credit hours completed than other applicants who have only completed an associate’s degree program.
House Bill 305 would allow the degree requirement to be waived if the applicant has completed at least 60 credit hours toward a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
“It makes no sense to treat applicants differently based on where they attended their first two years of college,” said Barickman. “This change will make sure our police departments are able to hire the most qualified candidates, regardless of which type of college they attended.”
The legislation was largely developed through feedback with the Pontiac Police Department.
“This is going to be fantastic for students that are seniors at 4 year universities and want to start applying for jobs before they graduate,” said Pontiac Police Chief Jim Woolford. “This will increase our candidate pool with educated, qualified people.”