Sheriff Dart Announces Relaunch of Senior Citizen Led Training Program for Police Recruits

May 13, 2024Press Release


COOK COUNTY, IL – Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart has relaunched Seniors Training Academy Recruits to Succeed (STARS), a unique program where older adult volunteers help train police recruits to better serve the community.

Sheriff Dart founded the STARS program in 2017 to hone recruits’ communication skills and prepare them to navigate real-life scenarios effectively as police officers. In this training each recruit receives a radio call for service, stating that a senior has been a victim of a crime. The recruit responds and engages with the senior portraying the victim. Following the exercise, recruits receive feedback on their interactions.

This unique approach provides invaluable scenario-based training that enhances a recruit’s communication skills, teaching them how to better connect with a large segment of the community who are often victims of crime. “This innovative program, which is a joint venture with Triton College’s Retired Senior Volunteer Program, offers a unique way to prepare our recruits for serving and protecting our community,” Sheriff Dart said. “We now can better equip our recruits to communicate effectively and enhance public safety. We are grateful for the support we have received and look forward to continuing this training for years to come.”

The program was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic and relaunched May 2024.This training helps recruits take the important lessons learned in the Training Academy and apply them when interviewing role-playing seniors who have been trained to portray victims of senior-specific crimes. Older adults interested in volunteering for this program may contact the Sheriff’s Office Senior Services Department at 708-865-7341.