By the end of the, process the CPD plans to add between 150 and 200 new police officers to its rolls in 2011, although Supt. Jody Weis says the department currently has approximately 1,110 vacancies. The entrance examination is the first step in that process, and 8,600 people turned out on Saturday hoping wouldl make it all the way.
It was the largest applicant pool to take the Chicago Police Department's entrance examination in 10 years and also was the first time in four years that the city had offered the exam.
There were two different testing periods on Saturday, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. The exam is just the first of many steps to become a Chicago police officer.
Weis talked about what kind of person he wants for the department.
"We're looking for that well-rounded individual who can communicate with people, a self-starter, somebody who has the ability to problem solve, a natural leader, someone who can take charge of a situation and resolve it in a favorable manner," the superintendent said.
"Even though there have been a lot of fatalities with the police, I think it's a good job to have to protect the citizens of the city. People look up to the police," said John Jankowski, who was in line to take the exam on Saturday.
"I think it's about time people stop saying the things that we need to do, and start doing something about the changes needed in Chicago and the neighborhoods to make things safe for the community. That's the reason why I decided to stop in and do something about it, to make the streets safe for my kids," said Antonio Easley, who also took the police exam.
Some changes have been made to the applicant selection process this year. Stating that they are in search of a more mature force, police officials have raised the minimum age requirement to apply from 21 to 25 years old.
hose who are eligibile will be part of a hiring pool to be used for several years to come.
Also, in order to encourage more veterans to apply, 20 percent of the available slots are being reserved for them, provided --of course-- that a sufficient number of veterans apply.