Date(s) - 11/18/19
11:30 am - 1:30 pm
City Club of Chicago
Monday, Nov 18, 2019
11:30 a.m. reception/12:00 p.m. luncheon
Brendan Kelly was nominated by Governor JB Pritzker to serve as the Director of the Illinois State Police (ISP) this January. Prior to beginning his leadership of the ISP, Kelly served as the elected State’s Attorney of St. Clair County from 2010 to 2019 and previously as an Assistant State’s Attorney prosecuting everything from drug cases, to crimes against children, to the most heinous murder cases.
A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Saint Louis University School of Law, Kelly has had a wide range of experience with law enforcement and public safety. As a young man, Kelly volunteered with a non-profit group that worked with law enforcement, combating child prostitution. During his military service as an officer in the United States Navy, Kelly conducted research on Israeli-Palestinian joint police patrols. As State’s Attorney, he was appointed by Governor Pat Quinn to the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission and appointed by Governor Bruce Rauner to the Illinois Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform Commission. He and the Attorney General of the Illinois co-chaired the Sexual Assault Law Enforcement Working Group. Kelly also served on the board of the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), co-chaired the NDAA Legislative Affairs committee, and is past-president of the Illinois State’s Attorneys Association. Kelly also served as a non-governmental observer on behalf of the NDAA at the Guantanamo military tribunal prosecutions of terrorism.
As chief prosecutor, Kelly established a violent crimes unit, a special victims unit for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, and a Children’s Justice Division, protecting children and rehabilitating juvenile offenders. Kelly served as chairman of the St. Clair County Child Advocacy Center and on the executive committee of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois and has obtained record breaking sentences for crimes against children. Kelly worked closely with the Illinois State Police on dozens of homicide investigations, Internal Affairs investigations, use-of-force reviews, police professionalism, sex offender compliance, concealed-carry training standards, violent crime prevention task forces, and public corruption operations.
As chief prosecutor of one of the largest counties in the state, and now as the ISP Director, Kelly has repeatedly advocated for more graduating classes of State Police officers to fill major manpower shortages, expansion of state police public integrity units, uniformity and consolidation of telecommunication services, better law enforcement training standards, and forensic services transparency and effectiveness. As Director, Kelly has initiated changes to the firearms background process and enforcement of firearms safety and begun the massive effort to reduce the turn-around-time of forensic testing. Kelly has also established separate divisions for the Illinois State Police Academy to improve training and recruitment and Statewide 9-1-1 to help implement Next Generation 9-1-1 services.
In 2018, Kelly was named State’s Attorney of the Year by the Illinois State Crime Commission. He has also received an Illinois Mothers Against Drunk Driving Hero Award and was named Prosecutor of the Year by the Southern Illinois Law Enforcement Commission and Southern Illinois Police Chief’s Association. He also received a violence reduction award from the Illinois State Police Metro East Police Assistance Team. As the elected State’s Attorney, Kelly personally charged, tried, and obtained a conviction for the attempted murder of an Illinois State Police officer. During his prosecutor tenure, violent crime was reduced by 41 percent in his jurisdiction.
Kelly comes from a family of law enforcement and military service. He is married to an oncology nurse and has two sons.
The Illinois Senate Executive Appointments Committee unanimously recommended to advise and consent to Kelly’s appointment in June.