ILLINOIS (WTHI) -- A steady decline in Illinois State Police troopers has them pushing to fill the gap.
For the past few months, Illinois state police troopers have been making headlines in the news.
Three state troopers have been hit and killed while working on the side road this year, but that's not the only reason there's a shortage of officers.
A wave of officers have retired from the force, and the state budget impasse has caused major cuts throughout the state. Now troopers are taking steps to fill the gaps.
"Right now we are in a recruitment push for our upcoming cadet class with the Illinois state police academy," Tammy Welborn, Illinois state police trooper said.
According to Illinois state police, 966 troopers were assigned to patrol in 2018. That's down almost 40% since 2000.
Welborn said her spark for law enforcement started when she got to be a school bus monitor, but more seriously she says she just loves helping her community.
"The reason I wanted to become a state trooper is I've always had the desire to help people to serve the community and this gives me the opportunity to do that in several different capacities," she said
Welborn says ISP works hard to keep everyone in the state safe and they work hard to make sure their new troopers do the same.
"We believe in this profession and we strive to be one of the top law enforcement agencies in this country and with the Illinois state police we stand on the 3 pillars of integrity service and pride and really strive to instill those characteristics in our new troopers," Welborn said.
The push for recruitment is also being helped by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker.
He's proposed allocating more than $7 million to train two new cadet classes at the state police academy.
Welborne said ISP is currently accepting applications for the cadet class starting in October. Applications are due May 31st.
You can find those applications and more information about Illinois State Police here.