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About the Department

The Department of Police began service to the citizens of Illinois in 1913, as "Special Representatives" to act as "Automobile and Motorcycle Investigators". It wasn't until 1921 that Investigators were authorized compensation. Secretary Louis Emmerson also established a Bureau within the Office of Secretary of State to track stolen motor vehicles and motorcycles.

In 1957, Secretary of State Charles Carpentier created the Illinois Motor Vehicle Law, the forerunner of today's Illinois Vehicle Code. The Investigators were also designated as Police Officers and Constables vested with the authority to enforce provisions of the Motor Vehicle Law. House Bill 802 also created what was known as the Anti-Theft Laws and vested the Secretary of State with the power to assign new identification numbers to vehicles having their numbers missing.

In 1970, Secretary of State John Lewis removed the Division of Investigation from the Department of Motor Vehicles. This action made the Division of Investigation report directly to the Secretary of State. This was the first step in the modern day professionalism of the Division of Investigation. In furtherance of this, Investigators were placed under the Illinois Personnel Code.

In 1971, the Division began an extensive Auto Theft Program. During the late 1970's and into the 1980's, the Division was actively investigating organized crime in the Chicago and East St. Louis areas. Many cooperative ventures were undertaken with local, state, and federal agencies. These efforts proved to be highly successful.

The 1980's also saw a dramatic increase in drunken driving arrests by the Department. Federal grant money was used to enhance the Department's efforts in alcohol related enforcement activity. It was during this period of time that the name was formally changed to the Department of Police. The Department received a new look with exterior light bars on the squad cars and redesigned door emblems.

Throughout the mid 1990's, the Department sustained its efforts in the regulation of the motor vehicle industry, motor vehicle theft investigations, license and title regulations, security at Secretary of State facilities, as well as the Capitol Complex.

In January of 2005, the General Assembly passed a Supplemental Appropriation for $4.9 million for the purpose of establishing a Capitol Police Department within the Secretary of State. This new police force will be assigned to the nine buildings comprising the State Capitol Complex. Its primary function will be to ensure public safety, identify and mitigate threats, detect criminal activity and prevent loss of property within the Capitol Complex.

The primary mission of the Secretary of State, Department of Police is the regulation of businesses involved in the sale of motor vehicles and vehicle parts through the enforcement of the Illinois Motor Vehicle statutes and the Secretary of State Administrative Rules and Regulations. The purpose of this regulatory function is the protection of the consumer against fraudulent motor vehicle transactions throughout the state.

The Secretary of State Police also maintains the Illinois State Capitol Police force which is located on the Illinois State Capitol Complex in Springfield. Their mission is to provide complete law enforcement services to protect the assets of the State under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Secretary of State. Ensure public safety, identify and mitigate threats and analyze risk, detect and deter criminal activity, prevent loss of personal property, and assist all persons within its jurisdiction in a professional and courteous manner.

Tradition, Service, and Dedication