Budget reflects continuing support for critical public safety initiatives
SPRINGFIELD – In his proposed fiscal year 2007 budget for the Illinois State Police, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich continues to invest in frontline personnel and technology to keep the public safe, including an aggressive new initiative that will lead to significantly faster and more efficient DNA testing in the long term.
The Governor’s operating budget proposal includes $16.7 million in funding for the DNA casework and offender program, an increase of $1.2 million over the fiscal year 2006 level, and the capital budget adds $1.8 million for planning and beginning construction to expand DNA testing capacity. The Governor increased funding for DNA analysis by $7.3 million in fiscal years 2004-2006. A portion of the proposed 2007 funding increase will be used to hire eight additional forensic scientists, and to begin the planning and design work for major expansions of the Forensic Science Center at Chicago and the CODIS Laboratory in Springfield.
In addition to adding new staff and lab capacity, the Governor’s initiative includes establishment of the Prairie State DNA Institute in partnership with one or more state universities to ensure a steady supply of well-trained scientists to staff our labs. Currently, forensic scientists are trained by the ISP for 18 months before they are able to perform DNA casework analysis, and many end up leaving after training for higher paid jobs in the private sector. The state would provide scholarships and paid internships for students getting their master’s level degrees in forensics science from the Institute. In exchange, students would agree to work for at least four years in Illinois’ forensic lab system. ISP will partner with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission in to distribute $500,000 in scholarships to up to 15 graduate students during the 2006-2007 school year.
"DNA technology is a proven asset to investigators and prosecutors in identifying and bringing criminals to justice. Funding for the planned Institute, facility expansion and the addition of forensic scientists will improve efficiency and eliminate the need to outsource criminal cases," ISP Director Larry Trent said.
ISP’s proposed operating budget for Fiscal Year 2007 is $387.3 million, an increase of $28.4 million from Fiscal Year 2006.
Illinois State Police budget initiatives for FY07 include:
- Create the Prairie State DNA Institute – a multi-pronged initiative to address capacity, productivity, research, and the training and retention of forensic scientists for the ISP DNA program. The capital budget includes funding for the facility expansion of the Forensic Science Center at Chicago and the CODIS Laboratory in Springfield, and the hiring of an additional eight forensic scientists in FY07.
- Expand Front Line Service - increase front line patrol and investigative services through two cadet classes to graduate 100 officers, continuing the Governor’s pledge to graduate 400 new police officers over a four-year period.
- Implement STARCOM21 - procure more than 4,000 mobile and portable radios for installation in police vehicles and complete testing and training needed to ensure adequate statewide radio coverage.
Continuing the Governor’s pledge to graduate 400 new police officers over a four-year period, the ISP will start two cadet classes in Fiscal Year 2007 to graduate 100 police officers. These officers will patrol the highways of Illinois, enforcing the motor vehicle laws in an effort to save lives on our highways, continue the fight against methamphetamine, and provide drug trafficking intervention.
“The men of women of the Illinois State Police remain committed to providing the best possible service to the citizens of Illinois," said Illinois State Police Director Larry G. Trent. "During the past year, we have seen improvements in DNA analysis, increases in personnel, and the creation of Methamphetamine Response Teams through the frontline placement of officers in the fight against meth. Thanks to the support of the Blagojevich Administration and an increase in funding, we will continue to upgrade equipment and improve technology, providing our officers with the resources needed to make Illinois safer for all citizens."
Public safety remains a commitment of Governor Blagojevich. In the last year, the ISP:
- Created six Methamphetamine Response Teams to curtail the spread of methamphetamine production and use throughout Illinois. Officers on these teams are dedicated to performing both proactive and reactive methamphetamine investigations, providing the focus needed to impact the growing number of clandestine drug laboratories.
- Led a group of 149 officers comprised of law enforcement agencies from throughout Illinois to assist with rescue and relief efforts in Louisiana during the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. During four weeks of deployment, they undertook an estimated 353 missions, rescuing 250, entering or clearing 12,230 structures, arresting or detaining 70 people, and seizing 27 weapons. • Partnered with the Chicago Police Department to make significant progress on the Illinois Citizens and Law Enforcement Analysis and Reporting System (I-CLEAR). I-CLEAR is the integrated technology solution for the collection, maintenance and dissemination of criminal justice data in Illinois. Through I-CLEAR, law enforcement throughout Illinois will be able to share arrest and crime incident information, giving officers the analytical tools they need to more effectively solve crimes.
- Continued to reduce the number of fatalities on the roadways throughout Illinois. Strong enforcement efforts, special emphasis on seatbelt awareness and continued partnerships resulted in 2 fewer fatalities in 2005 from the previous year – the lowest number of fatalities since 1943