The Illinois State Police began service to the state with the appointment of the first director, John J. Stack, and the first eight men as highway patrol officers on April 1, 1922. The equipment consisted of surplus World War one motorcycles and uniforms for the eight officers. The mission was to enforce the weight laws of the state protecting the “hard roads” from damage caused by overweight trucks. The force and the mission increased over time.
In 1972, the 50th anniversary, finds the ISP had become a leader in law enforcement across the nation. The deparment had 1,709 sworn officers and 602 civilian employees working across the state. That same year a group of retired and active officers began looking for a means to preserve the proud heritage of the Illinois State Police for future generations.
By 1997, the 75th anniversary, the ISP had grown to 2,124 men and women officers and 1,680 support personnel.
Monetary restrictions and lack of time to devote to preserving the history of the ISP were always realities which stood in the way. In December 2000, a small group of retired and active ISP employees with a strong commitment to preserving this history formed the Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation. The Foundation registered as a not-for-profit corporation with the state and was recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a charity under Section 501 (c) 3 of its rules.
The Dream of the Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation became a reality in 2004 when property was purchased and construction began on the ISPHF Museum. A building to house exhibits and vehicles owned by the foundation was constructed and two existing houses were renovated for use as an office and archive storage. The museum opened to the public April 1, 2005.
Between 2006 and 2009 exhibits were changed and new ones were added to the museum. The property to the east became available and was added to the existing property. During 2010 the two small houses used for office and storage space were torn down. The brown house is now the ISPHF office. All this was accomplished through donations and sales of merchandise.
The board elects its officers for two year terms, for 2014:
The Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation Board of Directors are appointed representatives of the following organizations:
- Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers
- FOP Troopers Lodge 41
- Hispanic Law Enforcement Association
- ISP Command Officers Association
- Illinois State Police
- Retired State Police Association of Illinois