Taking a county sheriff's advice to enroll at Parkland College, Kris Fitzpatrick made the most of the degree she earned. She was hired at the University of Illinois as a police officer in 1977, one of the first female officers in Champaign County. She advanced over an illustrious 30+ years in law enforcement, serving as assistant chief of police in 2002 and executive director of public safety and interim chief from 2005 through 2007. Fitzpatrick also earned a master's degree from Eastern Illinois University and was selected for training in the FBI National Academy.
As director of the University of Illinois Police Training Institute from 2007 to 2010, Fitzpatrick led the state's largest certified academy responsible for training Illinois police and correctional officers. She has co-authored various articles for professional journals including Campus Law Enforcement Journal, a publication of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA). During her career, Fitzpatrick was also a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training, FBI National Academy Associates and a statutory member of the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board. She frequently presented on law enforcement topics within the state.
Among her numerous honors are University of Illinois Division of Public Safety Commendations (1989, 1997, 2002); the Eastern Illinois University School of Technology's Distinguished Graduate Award (2001); the University of Illinois Mother's Association Medallion of Honor (2000); the University of Illinois Chancellor Distinguished Staff Award (1999)’ the University of Illinois Division of Public Safety Director's Award (1997); University of Illinois Division of Public Safety Merit Awards (1984, 1987); and the University of Illinois Division of Public Safety Officer of the Year Award (1978). Kris is a Distinguished Alumni Award recipient.
Kris's most memorable moment at Parkland "was the first day of the class Introduction to Law Enforcement, taught by Jim Whetstone. I can clearly remember how I just knew I was in the right place and that my future would be in law enforcement regardless of the challenges."