Belt3BELLEVILLE—Thanks to support from State Senator Christopher Belt – who is a longstanding advocate of investing in public safety – a new police training academy is coming to Belleville.

"Criminal justice reform can't just be about changing a few policies, we need to think about every aspect of the justice system. That includes how we train those in positions of responsibility," said Belt (D-Swansea). "When public safety officers, forensic scientists and law students are all learning alongside each other, everyone benefits from the diversity of experiences and perspectives."


The city of Belleville, Southwestern Illinois College, the Illinois State Police and Southern Illinois University have partnered together to repurpose the former site of Lindenwood University’s undergraduate program. The city of Belleville repurchased the campus location through a $3 million grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.


“The City of Belleville’s commitment to the growth of our region will provide exceptional educational opportunities for our area,” said Belleville Mayor Patty Gregory. “Because of outstanding support from our state and local governments, and many educational entities, we are proud to announce that the Southwestern Illinois Justice & Workforce Development campus will ensure that this vision continues, for decades to come.”

A wide variety of programs will be offered on the campus, which will be operated and maintained by SWIC. A new police training academy will open for classes in fall 2022, with plans to move additional criminal justice programs to the campus as capacity increases in the future. The inaugural class will house up to 130 cadets on campus.

SIU Carbondale’s Law school is launching a program on campus called the Metro East Criminal Justice Experiential Learning Program. In this program, third year law students will have the opportunity to take classes on campus and intern in offices focused on criminal justice, such as with the Public Defender’s Office.

“SIU Carbondale’s presence in this facility fits well with our strategic plan, Imagine 2030, and its pillars that address partnerships and student success,” said SIU Carbondale Chancellor Austin A. Lane. “A lot of people worked hard to make this day a reality. They had the vision and imagination to see our students getting hands-on experiences to prepare them for their future careers as they serve a community in the Metro East.”

Additionally, in cooperation with SIU Edwardsville, the Illinois State Police Forensic Science Institute will be located on the campus. The ISP Forensic Science Laboratory is located across the street from the new campus. This new institute will offer programs to train forensic science professionals for deployment across state crime labs.

"What was once an empty campus, is now set to be a thriving center of higher learning and justice," said Representative LaToya Greenwood (D-East St. Louis). "Between the training academy, forensic institute, and the law school, this endeavor will have a lasting impact on the entire region for generations to come."