Chicago Police Department loosens requirements to help recruiting efforts

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Recruiting more police officers has been a big challenge for the Chicago Police Department. Retirements and COVID-related delays at the police academy have resulted in a big spike in 2021's attrition rate. In its effort to find more cops, CPD said the requirement for 60 college credit hours has been an issue.

"Individuals are writing to us saying hey, I want to come on the police department, I don't have the credit hours but, I do have a,b,c," said Deputy Chief Migdalia Bulnes.

CPD announced Thursday it is waiving the education requirement for three years of experience in certain jobs and careers, including a peace officer, correctional officer, detention officer, security work, a trade, or careers in social service, healthcare or education. CPD already waives the 60 college credit hours for three years of military service.

"We think this waiver will expand our pool of candidates, we think our pool of candidates will be one much more diverse," said CPD Supt. David Brown.

Brown said the department's February recruiting class includes 48% females and 65% Hispanic.

"I think if we do anything right bringing in more women to be representative in this profession is just as important as race and ethnicities," he said.

While African Americans make up 20% of the department, Brown did not say how many of February's recruiting class are Black. CPD has been criticized for not doing enough to recruit and retain Black officers. Pastor Rich Redmond said Thursday's announcement is not enough.

"What more they can do is put it all together, give is a complete comprehensive picture of your process," he said.

Besides waiving the education requirement for certain jobs, CPD has an ongoing recruitment office with a budget to market and travel around the country, including recruiting at historically Black colleges.
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