Legislation sponsored by State Senator Erica Harriss (R-Glen Carbon) taking aim at reducing the current police shortage at Illinois universities was signed into law late last week. Previously, out-of-state residents could not apply for university police officer positions unless all Illinois applicants have been deemed unqualified. Harriss’ House Bill 1767 removes that requirement.

The new policy was an initiative of the University Chiefs of Police of Illinois in an attempt to remove the exhaustive process to accept and receive applications from non-Illinois residents. Additionally, this new law will level the playing field for university departments as municipal police departments do not have a residency requirement.

“It’s no secret that across Illinois there is a shortage in our law enforcement profession. That burden is exacerbated within our universities, which weren’t afforded the same hiring privileges as other police departments,” said Sen. Harriss. “In an effort to fulfill the needs within the profession, this new law will ensure that all qualified candidates are given an opportunity for employment.

“Additionally, it’s my hope that this new policy will not only increase employment within the profession, but also provide an incentive for people who obtain a job outside their home state to move to Illinois to raise their families as well.”

The legislation, signed into law on Friday, July 28, takes effect January 1, 2024.

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