The Chicago Police Department on Monday started accepting applications for yet another police entrance exam — the first of three this year — to be held May 31 and June 1 at Malcolm X College.
The partnership with City Colleges is a first for CPD. It’s tailor-made to bolster minority participation by making the exam “more accessible for people from all parts the city,” according to Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.
“CPD is also expanding the number of tests given each day to three exams versus two, as in previous years. Applicants are also allowed to select which date they prefer to take the exam. In previous years, the test dates were assigned,” Johnson told a news conference at the Deering District, 3120 S. Halsted.
“So if anyone out there thinks they have what it takes to be a police officer, I invite and encourage you to apply.”
Two more exams are scheduled later this year as the soon-to-be-replaced police academy at 1300 W. Jackson continues to function as a conveyor belt, churning out continuous classes of recruits.
That’s what it took to deliver on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s ambitious two-year promise to add 970 officers to the department’s depleted ranks.
“In fact, we’ve added 1,358 men and women and sworn officers since January of 2018. This includes replacing the 2,352 officers that have either retired or moved on from this department,” Johnson said.
“Today I’m happy to announce that 101 new officers have been assigned to their first deployment. More than two-thirds of these officers are slated for the South and West Sides.”
Last week, a melancholy Emanuel presided over his last police graduation ceremony as mayor of Chicago — the 297-officer class was one of the largest in Chicago history — and reflected on his partnership with a police superintendent plucked out of obscurity who never applied for the job, but rose to the challenge.
On Monday, Emanuel and Johnson were in a celebratory mood. They took a bow for another chapter in the steady decline in violent crime from the sky-high rates reached in 2016.
“Over the last two years plus the first quarter of 2019, each year we’ve seen a reduction in shootings and homicides. Last two years, 2017 and 2018, close to about 28 percent. And another 28 to 29 percent in the first quarter shootings effort,” Emanuel said.
“Robberies, burglaries and auto thefts are at a 20-year low. Each one of those. Showing that also property theft that is quite impactful on a family — just like shootings and homicides are horrendous and horrible — they have done a tremendous job.”
Emanuel noted that the 101 officers deployed on Monday will be dispersed to 11 districts: Central; Grand Crossing; South Chicago; Calumet; Gresham; Chicago Lawn; Deering; Harrison; Austin; Near North; and Morgan Park.
And additional manpower is only “a piece of it,” the mayor said.
“There’s also all of the technology we have done with ShotSpotter, license plate readers, strategic rooms that help us with not only ShotSpotter, but also the new camera and strategic planning for deployment,” Emanuel said.
On the day before Chicagoans go to the polls to choose his successor, the retiring mayor also made it a point to mention the 32,000 summer jobs that will be available this year for at-risk youth.
“While we have made a tremendous amount of progress over the two-and-a-half years — [and] I don’t want to speak for the superintendent, but I’m gonna do it now — we know we’re not done. We know that we have a lot more work to go. And nobody is resting on their laurels,” the mayor said.
“But what we do know is that the things we’re doing are starting to make a difference in the quality of life of our neighborhoods and communities and the safety we want our residents to experience.”