CPD to waive college requirements for some new hires

City Colleges of Chicago will host in-person testing for the Chicago Police Department from March 17-19. Walk-in applicants will also be welcomed.

SHARE CPD to waive college requirements for some new hires
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown announced the Chicago Police Department will waive college requirements for certain candidates.

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown announced the Chicago Police Department will waive college requirements for certain candidates.

Manny Ramos/Sun-Times

The Chicago Police Department announced it will broaden its candidate pool by waiving the longstanding 60-hour college credit requirement for those with certain work experiences.

The move comes as the department has experienced high rates of attrition in the last year with scores of officers retiring or looking for work in other municipalities across the country.

Qualified candidates would need to work in certain professions for at least three years before the college credit requirement can be waived. This includes experience as a police officer, correctional officer, detention officer or licensed professional security.

Those working in the professional trade industry, social services, health care services or an educational professional also qualify for the waiver.

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown on Thursday said the move will help not only expand the department but also help diversify it.

“I think there is diversity and life skills that will benefit this profession enormously,” Brown said. “We want to really broaden the pool to include more diversity and I would just say, for me personally, for more women.”

The department already offers a waiver from these college credit requirements if a candidate has at least two years’ experience in the military — which will stay in effect.

Brown acknowledged CPD is facing heavy competition from suburban police departments that don’t have the same minimum requirements. He hopes this can help attract people back to Chicago and those who want to bring positive change to the city’s Police Department.

“This great challenge of policing in this country, the social justice movement, the reform movement and many people — particularly diverse people in this country — want to be a part of that reform and that change,” Brown said. “And our message to them is, ‘It starts with you.’”

Brown said many people from diverse backgrounds may have not had the chance to go to college and earn 60 hours of credits. They may have had to work immediately and those experiences, he said, are worth an opportunity as a Chicago police officer.

Antoinette Ursitti, deputy chief of CPD’s Training and Support Group, agreed with Brown’s assessment.

“Life experience really does make a very big difference … and we see that at the recruit level as much as when you really start to get to the in-service training program,” Ursitti said.

The change in a longstanding CPD hiring police comes as the department launched its first recruitment team that had an advertising and travel budget to help bolster its declining workforce.

Police departments across the country have faced giant increases in retirements and have struggled to recruit for those vacancies — a problem that is facing other industries as well.

But CPD has seen a dramatic drop.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported in January that it had about 13,000 sworn officers at the beginning of 2021, but that number has fallen to about 11,900. Last year 720 officers retired, far more than the 560 that retired in 2020 or the 474 in 2019.

City Colleges of Chicago will host in-person testing for the Chicago Police Department from March 17-19. Walk-in applicants will also be welcomed.

The Latest
The former Sun-Times and Tribune sportswriter died Wednesday at 72.
Three women and a man were shot at 119th Street and Michigan Avenue in West Pullman about 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
With four straight double-doubles, Reese is the only rookie so far this season to eclipse 100 points and 100 rebounds.
A severe thunderstorm watch was issued through 10 p.m. in Kankakee, Grundy and Will counties.