Madigan praises UI police graduates

by Jon Hansen

Staff Writer

For most people, living for 12 weeks under intense physical and emotional strain would be undesirable. But for David Blackmore, graduate of the University of Illinois Police Training Institute, it was the greatest experience of his life.

Blackmore and 62 fellow officers comprising graduating class number 2285 received their certificates in basic law enforcement Thursday. This year’s graduation marked the 50th anniversary for the Institute.

“All of us will walk out of here a little bit taller,” Blackmore said in his speech to fellow officers. “We are the future of Illinois law enforcement.”

According to its Web site, the Institute provides basic training for law enforcement officers from various agencies throughout Illinois, including municipal departments, county sheriff’s departments, state agencies and state parks. Additionally, the Institute’s correctional training program trains almost all of the state’s county correctional officers outside Cook County.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan attended the ceremony, praising the graduates choice to become officers in her address.

“By making this life-changing decision, you have made a commitment to improving the lifestyle of residents in Illinois, especially those in your community,” Madigan said.

State Representative Naomi Jakobsson (D-103) also spoke at the graduation, reading Illinois House Resolution 1191 which honored the Institute for training more than 150,000 officers in its 50 year history.

The graduating officers represent a large spectrum of Illinois communities, including many from Springfield and the Chicago suburbs. Blackmore said this helped the officers get through training.

“Being from Joliet, I thought Springfield was the southernmost city in the state,” Blackmore joked. “We come from many different backgrounds, and now we get to clean up our communities and make a difference.”

Hundreds of friends and family attended the ceremony, which was held at the Holiday Inn Hotel, 1001 Killarney St. The ceremony began with traditional bagpipes, played by Paul Hinson, leading the parade of officers into the ballroom. Awards for scholastic achievement, marksmanship, fitness and overall achievement were awarded to officers during the graduation.

“These graduates, like those in the past, will make us proud,” said University Chancellor Richard Herman.

Madigan also spoke about the tradition of the Institute.

“My biggest congratulations of the day go to the graduating class,” Madigan said. “You follow in the footsteps of the great officers before you.”