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Law Enforcement Careers in Illinois

Illinois has earned itself a troubling reputation for having a crime problem that is nearly out of control, and of course, Chicago is at the center of it all. And the numbers bear this out; afterall, your city doesn’t earn a nickname like Chi-Raq or the heartbreaking distinction of being the murder capital of the U.S. for nothing.

Even with a homicide rate that is disturbingly high at nearly 8 for every 100,000 residents and with an overall violent crime rate of nearly 439 incidents per 100,000 people, it seems that the tide could possibly be turning according to data published by the FBI in 2017. Though the numbers are still extremely concerning, there is a glimmer of hope in the fact that the homicide rate is down 16% year over year between 2016 and 2017 according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School. Property crime fell by 2% during that same period.

Although a long term trend hasn’t emerged yet, you can be sure this positive change can be attributed to policing policies and the tireless efforts of the men and women of the state’s municipal and county law enforcement agencies.

Statewide Law Enforcement Illinois

The state law enforcement agency, the Illinois State Police, is divided into four divisions: administration, forensics, internal investigations, and operations. State troopers here work in a variety of roles, including patrol, investigations, crime scene investigation, motorcycle patrol, SWAT, K-9, and air patrol.

State trooper candidates must have a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree in law enforcement, arts, or science, or alternatively 90 quarter hours (60 semester hours) of coursework. Additional qualifications include previous law enforcement or military experience and a generally clean background, substance abuse history, and driving record.

 

Sheriff’s Departments in Illinois

Illinois is home to major sheriff’s offices like the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, which includes more than 500 officers, and smaller sheriff’s offices like Winnebago County, which has just about 100 officers.

Cook County

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office, the third largest police department in Illinois, consists of more than 500 officers and 100 civilian personnel. The department provides police services to the more than 109,000 residents who live and work in the county.

Officer candidates must have a high school diploma or GED. They must also possess or qualify to possess an Illinois State firearm’s card.

Kane County

The Kane County Sheriff’s Office is home to 14 different specialized deputy positions available to candidates who can pass a series of tests and exams and who have a high school diploma or GED.

Winnebago County

This Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office consists of 105 sworn officers who respond to about 150 crimes per month. Candidates for deputy sheriff positions must have a high school diploma or GED and be free of any felony convictions.

Municipal Police Departments in Illinois

Jobs in law enforcement are plentiful in Illinois, where major police departments like the Chicago Police Department employ hundreds of sworn officers to provide protection of person and property.

Chicago Police Department

The Chicago Police Department, which serves the citizens of the third largest city in the nation, is organized into 25 police districts. The Chicago PD recruits motivated and dedicated officers open to new strategies and ideas to fulfill the goals of the department. Requirements include 60 credits from an accredited university or college, three consecutive years of military service, or a combination of the two.

Aurora Police Department

The Aurora Police Department is home to 729 sworn officers, 239 civilian personnel, and no less than 13 specialized departments. Minimum job requirements include a high school diploma or GED, although entry pay increases with a higher education level.

Rockford Police Department

The Rockford Police Department has a force of 302 sworn officers. Candidates for these positions must have a high school diploma/GED and must successfully complete a series of tests and examinations.

Joliet Police Department

The Operations Division of the Joliet Police Department consists of more than 140 officers and supervisors who provide 24-hour patrol services. Police officers candidates must be in good shape and have a background free from heavy drug use and crimes.

Naperville Police Department

With over 16 different unit divisions, the Naperville Police Department is ready to respond to a wide variety of obstacles and threats to the community. Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree in any discipline at the time of application.

Illinois Law Enforcement Salaries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals an average, median salary of $82,670 for law enforcement professionals in Illinois, with the top 10% earning $102,210.

The following salary data, obtained directly from the respective police departments/sheriff’s offices, highlight starting salaries for law enforcement officers. Additional information on salary increases due to promotion and/or experience is also included, where available.

Police Officer Salaries

The average, starting salary for police officers among Illinois’ largest police departments is $57,132.

  • Aurora Police Department

Police officers with the Aurora Police Department earn $56,984 during their first year of employment. From there, salary increases are based on experience:

      • Year 2: $62,115
      • Year 3: $69,205
      • Year 4: $76,469
      • Year 5: $84,870
      • Year 6: $91,986
  • Chicago Police Department

Police officers with the Chicago Police Department earn between $48,078 and $99,414, based on an 11-step salary schedule.

Police officers in specialized positions (marine unit, traffic specialist, canine handler, etc.) earn a salary range of $68,616 and $104,502.

Additional salary increases are available for promotions to higher ranks.

  • Joliet Police Department

Police officers with the Joliet Police Department earn a starting salary of $54,870. After one year of service, the salary for these law enforcement professionals increases to $72,644. And after two years, salaries here increase again to $88,133.

  • Naperville Police Department

The annual, starting salary for police officers with the Naperville Police Department is $73,364.

  • Rockford Police Department

Police officers with the Rockford Police Department earn between $52,811 and $76,870.

Sheriff’s Deputy Salaries

At $51,652, the starting salaries among sheriff’s deputies in Illinois’ biggest sheriff’s departments are about $6,000 less than their police officer counterparts. The Kane County Sheriff’s Office comes out ahead, paying its deputies a starting salary of $64,075.

  • Cook County Sheriff’s Office

Deputy sheriffs with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office earn a starting salary of $41,424.

  • DuPage County Sheriff’s Office

The starting salary for sheriff’s deputies with the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office is $56,152.

  • Kane County Sheriff’s Office

Deputy sheriffs with the Kane County Sheriff’s Office earn a salary of $58,691 during training. Upon graduation, these law enforcement professionals earn $64,075, with a top salary of $83,997.

  • Lake County Sheriff’s Office

The starting salary for deputy sheriffs with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office is $41,000.

  • Will County Sheriff’s Office

The starting salary for sheriff’s deputies with the Will County Sheriff’s Office is $55,156.

State Trooper and State Police Salaries

Troopers with the Illinois State Police earn a starting salary of $32,076 while in the academy. Upon graduation, the salary for these law enforcement professionals increases to $60,036.

 

Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2018 – https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_il.htm.

BLS salary data represents state and MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Agency-level salary and employment data was sourced directly from the municipal, county and state law enforcement agencies named and reflects the specific salary ranges and seniority- or rank-based pay described by the respective agency.

All salary and employment data accessed in August 2019.

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