Illinois State Police struggle with statewide officer shortage, now recruiting officers

    Illinois State Police struggle with statewide officer shortage, now recruiting officers

    On Saturday, Illinois State Police held a free practice fitness test for anyone who's working to join the state police force.

    There were 27 people who attended, from across Illinois.

    All, are planning to take the real ISP test in five weeks.

    The mock exam was a way to help prepare potential cadets.

    They each learned what is required to pass the fitness portion of the test and had to participate in a variety of fitness challenges varying from strength, flexibility and endurance.

    “We wanted to make sure we did that today to give everyone the opportunity to see where they needed improvement so they would at least have a month to prepare for the actual test,” said Master Sergeant John Merrifield, with Illinois State Police.

    After the mock exam, officers with decades of experience talked with the ISP candidates and answered any questions they had.

    Officers also discussed what to expect if they do get into the academy.

    Passionate candidates like Garrad Straube passed the mock exam with flying colors.

    "It went well. I passed all of the different portions and I got to see where I'm at and where I'm going to be next,” said Straube.

    He’s dreamed about being an officer since he was a young boy.

    "State police is just always what I’ve strived for," said Straube.

    Now, he's one step closer and he's not the only one.

    Grant Kaiser has been training for years to be a state trooper. “

    “I just really respect what they do and I just want to serve and protect the public," said Kaiser.

    All who attended received an evaluation at the end.

    This tells them exactly where they are physically and what needs to be improved.

    Illinois State Police went four years without hiring, which led to a statewide trooper shortage.

    However, it's looking up.

    This year, a class of around 80 already passed.

    This next round of cadets will begin state police academy in April.

    To find out how to join Illinois State Police follow this link.

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