Intense Training: Troopers faced with tough challenges

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It's not for the faint of heart, yet each year, hundreds of cadets put themselves through this rigorous, 6-month training period to become an Illinois State trooper. Cadet classes 114 and 115, said they both physical and emotional challenges.

"I can honestly tell you the Illinois State Police is not easy whatsoever; they demand the best of you and constantly push you to move forward," said Eric M. King Jr., ISP Cadet Class 115.

"The Illinois State Police have a much higher standard to uphold, and as a prior police officer, I have a standard, but it's much higher now," said Callie S. Worsfold, ISP Cadet Class 115.

"I wanted to do this since I was 16 years old...I knew it was going to be tough," said Angelica Aguilar, ISP Cadet Class 114.

At the emergency vehicle course, cadets are challenged with driving scenarios they could be faced with on the job. On this one mile obstacle course, which is done at a required 65 miles per hour. Early in training, cadets are taught to shoot a weapon starting with a glock 22 caliber pistol.

According to state police, 90% of cadets come into the training academy with absolutely no weapon experience - and they prefer it that way.

"If you get somebody who's shot before, you get people with bad habits, such as drifting a trigger, which causes people to miss a target and we prefer people don't have that experience," said Trooper Richard Mahan, ISP firearms instructor.

For cadets, all the sweat and tears are worth it.

"We have several positions within the State Police; you can get your pilot's license with ISP, you can be a motorcycle driver, an investigator with crime scene investigation," said Doug Whitmore, ISP Northern Region Recruiter.

"It takes a special kind of person to do that kind of work and a lot of people don't realize that; they see the stuff on TV and think it's all glamorous and it's not," said Trooper Christy White, ISP recruitment.

Those lucky enough to graduate from the academy, start in a patrol function; after 2 years, if qualified they can move into other areas. Of the 106 cadets ABC7 observed, 99 will soon be patrolling the roads in Illinois.

To learn more about becoming an Illinois State Police trooper, visit

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