Skip Navigation

SECRETARY OF STATE POLICE


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 establishing a Capitol Police Department within the Secretary of State. This police force is assigned to the nine buildings comprising the State Capitol Complex. Its primary function is to ensure public safety, identify and mitigate threats, detect criminal activity and prevent loss of property within the Capitol Complex.

Tradition, Service, and Dedication