Illinois State Police began in 1922
The Illinois State Police began service to the state with the appointment of the first director, John J. Stack, and the first eight men as highway patrol officers on April 1, 1922. The equipment consisted of surplus World War one motorcycles and uniforms for the eight officers. The mission was to enforce the weight laws of the state protecting the “hard roads” from damage caused by overweight trucks. The size of the force and the mission increased over time.
In 1972, the 50th anniversary, the Illinois State Police had become a leader in law enforcement across the nation. The Department had 1,709 sworn officers and 602 civilian employees working within the state. That same year a group of retired and active officers began looking for a means to preserve the proud heritage of the Illinois State Police for future generations. Monetary restrictions and lack of time to devote to preserving the history of the Illinois State Police were always realities which stood in the way.
By 1997, the 75th anniversary, the Illinois State Police had grown to 2,124 men and women officers and 1,680 support personnel.
View our yearbooks…
Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation (ISPHF) formed in 2000
In December 2000, a small group of retired and active Illinois State Police employees with a strong commitment to preserving its history formed the Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation (ISPHF.) The Foundation registered as a not-for-profit corporation with the state and was recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a charity under Section 501(c)3 of its rules.
Property for Museum and Office purchased in 2004
The dream of the ISPHF became a reality in 2004 when property was purchased for a Museum. A building to house exhibits and vehicles owned by the Foundation was constructed and two existing houses were renovated for use as an office and archive storage. The Museum opened to the public April 1, 2005. Between 2006 and 2009 exhibits were changed and new ones added. The property to the east became available and was purchased. During 2010 the two small houses used for office and storage space were demolished and the remaining house became the ISPHF office. All this was accomplished through donations and sales of merchandise.
Read about the Museum…
Becker Park donated in 2007 for Memorial Park dedicated in 2018
In 2007 Becker Park, a 1.5-acre park located next to Illinois State Police Central Headquarters in Springfield, was donated to the ISPHF by AIG Corporation with the intent to build a memorial dedicated to honoring the lives and memories of the fallen heroes of the Illinois State Police. The Foundation created a Memorial Park Committee to oversee the fundraising, design and construction of the park. A Groundbreaking Ceremony was held on November 12, 2015. Another dream of the Foundation became a reality when the Memorial Park was officially dedicated on October 2, 2018.
Read about the Memorial Park…
Expansion with Gold Star Family Fund and Benevolent Fund
The ISPHF has expanded to include a Gold Star Family Fund, assisting the financial needs of the families of Illinois State Police officer who died in the line-of-duty, and a Benevolent Fund, assisting current and former Illinois State Police employees in times of need such as catastrophic illness or injury, extraordinary medical situations or disaster.
Read about programs we support, including the Gold Star Family Fund and the Benevolent Fund…
The work of the ISPHF Board and fundraising
The ISPHF board works closely with Illinois State Police units and personnel, and other third-party organizations and individuals, in support of charitable, educational, and other events, programs, merchandise, and fundraising activities which are aligned with the bylaws, mission, goals, and objectives of the ISPHF. In 2014 a specialty license plate program was created in conjunction with the Secretary of State’s Office as a funding mechanism for the Foundation. Partnering with the Illinois Lottery, a Blue Police Memorial Ticket was established in May 2019. Funds are shared with Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, the Police Memorial Committee, and the ISPHF to be used for police memorials, commemorations, scholarships and financial assistance to families of fallen officers, bulletproof vests and support to individuals aspiring to pursue a career in law enforcement.
Read more about the ISPHF Board of Directors…
Search under way for new Museum property closer to Memorial Park
In January 2020 the Museum and office property was sold. While all the artifacts and exhibitions are in storage, a search is currently underway for a new location preferably closer to the Memorial Park.
Find out more about the Museum search…
Illinois State Police 100th Anniversary in 2022
In 2022, the Illinois State Police will celebrate its 100th Anniversary. The ISPHF has begun planning with the Department to celebrate this monumental event.
Read more about the 100th Anniversary celebration…