Costello wins law enforcement award

2014-01-15

Southwestern Illinois College President Georgia Costello, Ph.D., received the Presidential Award from the Southwestern Illinois Law Enforcement Commission and Southern Illinois Police Chiefs Association at a ceremony Wednesday evening at the Four Points Sheraton in Fairview Heights.

SILEC and SIPCA hold an awards banquet once a year to honor law enforcement employees, civic leaders and community residents for their support of law enforcement.

"This is truly an honor. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women in law enforcement who lay their lives on the line for our safety every day," Costello said. "As the wife and mother of former officers, I know all too well the challenges peace officers face."

Costello's husband, former U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello, and son, Illinois Rep. Jerry Costello II, both served as peace officers in St. Clair County. Both also received law enforcement training from the college: Congressman Costello earned an Administration of Justice certificate and Rep. Costello graduated from the Police Academy. In addition, the Congressman's father, Dan Costello, served as St. Clair County sheriff from 1966-1970.

The Southwestern Illinois Police Academy at SWIC is one of only six academies in the state.

President Costello has made serving the law enforcement community and the Police Academy a priority at the college. Since her appointment in 2008, she has:

  • Negotiated an intergovernmental agreement with the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board to allow police agencies to send new officers to the Police Academy without the financial burden of paying tuition.
  • Negotiated the transfer of the 80 Hour Transition Course and the Basic Arson Investigator Course from other academies to SWIC.
  • Updated Police Academy facilities, including a computer classroom, a scenario training house and a paved running track.
  • Ensured that SWIC facilities are made available to law enforcement at all campuses including state-of-the-art lecture halls, classrooms and fitness facilities.
  • Welcomed SILEC's Project 16 and resources for the driving simulator to the SWIC Belleville Campus. Also, permanently located the PRISm Shooting System at the campus with round-the-clock access for peace officers' training.
  • Regularly attended Police Academy graduations and always sends new officers off with a message of safety.
  • Received the Governor's Award for Excellence in Education for veterans programs that go above and beyond basic services. SWIC serves the largest population of student veterans and active duty military of any Illinois public institution.

"Future generations of law enforcement officers can thank Dr. Costello for her commitment and leadership because she truly understands how important it is for peace officers to go home safe and sound to their families every night," said Police Academy Director Van Muschler.

For more information about the Southwestern Illinois Police Academy, visit swic.edu/police or southwesternpoliceacademy.com, or call 618-235-2700, ext. 5396.