New state troopers hit the highways in Central Illinois this week

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CHAMPAIGN—Thirty-seven new state troopers will be hitting the highways this week, and a large group of those recent police academy graduates is coming to Central Illinois.

On the second day at his new job, Alex Colbrook wrote up his first warning.

“My field training officer made a traffic stop,” said Colbrook. “That was the first time I've seen him make a traffic stop. And I assisted him.”

Because traffic stops are about to become a common occurrence in his line of work. Colbrook is one of six brand new state troopers joining ISP District 10, the largest group to be assigned to the nine-county region in several years.

“We were short several people,” said Trooper Tracy Lillard. “Our District 10 team, which was only 35 people before, now we've got 41, which is wonderful.”

The new guys graduated from the Illinois State Police Academy last Friday, after 26 weeks of lessons in policies and procedures. By Monday morning, they were reporting to their new post, where they will undergo 14 more weeks of on-the-job training, shadowing various officers along the way.”

“A lot of that is orientation to the area,” said Lillard. “To find the local hospitals, jails, and other locations that are critical to this kind of career.

Because all the new troopers are from towns outside of District 10 and their prior jobs range from sales associate to soldier. Colbrook is a former Jacksonville police officer who says he made the switch to ISP because of the set standard.

“I also saw the way that the state police act and the way they're respected among other law enforcement agencies,” said Colbrook. “They just seem to be the premiere agency in the state and I wanted to be the best.”

And after a total of 10 months of training before he and his fellow rookies will be able to hit the road in their own squad cars, it's a goal for Colbrook to set his sights on.

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