Chicago police trying to recruit more minorities to join its ranks

Young Chicago police officers stand with Ald. Roderick Sawyer of the 6th ward at a press conference Monday announcing the police department’s latest recruitment effort. Supt. Garry McCarthy said the department has struggled in the past with hiring minorities.
Young Chicago police officers stand with Ald. Roderick Sawyer of the 6th ward at a press conference Monday announcing the police department’s latest recruitment effort. Supt. Garry McCarthy said the department has struggled in the past with hiring minorities. WBEZ/Lauren Chooljian
Young Chicago police officers stand with Ald. Roderick Sawyer of the 6th ward at a press conference Monday announcing the police department’s latest recruitment effort. Supt. Garry McCarthy said the department has struggled in the past with hiring minorities.
Young Chicago police officers stand with Ald. Roderick Sawyer of the 6th ward at a press conference Monday announcing the police department’s latest recruitment effort. Supt. Garry McCarthy said the department has struggled in the past with hiring minorities. WBEZ/Lauren Chooljian

Chicago police trying to recruit more minorities to join its ranks

Calling all future police officers: The Chicago Police Department is taking applications for the first time since 2013.

The last time the department held the police exam, 19,000 people showed up—but Supt. Garry McCarthy said there was a problem with the pool of applicants.  

“At the end of the day, we didn’t get the numbers that we wanted as far as minorities are concerned,” McCarthy told reporters Monday. “And it's been a dynamic in this department that we’ve struggled with for a long time.”

So this year, the police department is launching a campaign to increase minority participation. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who joined McCarthy and other top police brass for the announcement, said the force should better reflect the makeup of Chicago. 

To meet that end, McCarthy pointed to the diverse group of “young, good-looking” officers that stood behind him at the podium. CPD will send younger officers out to churches, schools and community events around Chicago to try and convince their peers to join the ranks. 

The application deadline is December 16; applicants must be 18 years old by the time of the exam, which will be held in February. Applicants also have to live in Chicago by the time of their employment, have 60 hours of college credit, or 36 months of continuous active duty service with 30 semester hours college credit and they must have a valid State of Illinois driver’s license by the time of employment.

The superintendent said the department will be hiring to keep up with attrition.

Lauren Chooljian covers Chicago politics for WBEZ. Follow her @laurenchooljian.