Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Police Department (CPD) Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Chicago Department of Human Resources (DHR) Commissioner Soo Choi today announced that the City has successfully completed its CPD recruitment campaign, with 16,544 qualified applicants seeking to take the April 2017 Police Entry Exam, just one year after the previous exam. These applications come as a result of a two-month recruitment campaign aimed at supporting CPD’s hiring goals to grow the Department by nearly 1,000 officers over the next two years and efforts to make the Department more reflective of the city it serves.
“We called on Chicagoans to join the police department and to be the change, and thousands have stepped up to serve our city," said Mayor Emanuel. "The response to our call for applicants is proof positive that as a city we are committed to making our police department bigger, more diverse, and more reflective of all our strengths."
CPD received more applications than last year, with a greater percentage reporting as a minority than last year’s diverse pool of candidates. The Department reports 16,544 applicants were invited to take the April 2017 exam, self-reporting as 31.7 percent female and 73.4 percent nonwhite, including 35.4 percent African-American, 33.0 percent Hispanic and 2.4 percent Asian. Following last year’s campaign, 14,234 applicants were invited to take the exam, self-reporting as 29.5 percent female and 71.3 percent nonwhite.
"I am encouraged by the large number of applicants and minorities who want to be a part of the positive change that is occurring throughout the Department," said CPD Superintendent Johnson. "These applicants represent the next generation at CPD who will work with veteran officers to build trust with our communities and make Chicago safer."
The intensive recruitment effort included advertising campaigns online, on WVON and Univision radio, and on billboards on the Dan Ryan, Stephenson, Eisenhower and Kennedy expressways. Grassroots partnerships with Aldermen, faith-based institutions, colleges and universities, and community organizations across the city helped support recruitment efforts. In total, the recruitment campaign hosted or participated in more than 430 events, ranging from veteran’s groups to LGBTQ centers to Chambers of Commerce, including Goodcity, HACE and the Rainbow Push Coalition. In addition, a pre-movie PSA featuring “Chicago PD” star LaRoyce Hawkins was shown at Studio Movie Grill on 87th, Ford City and a theater at 22nd and Cicero.
WVON further supported the recruitment campaign by running on-air PSA spots, hosting a recruitment event, and through on-air talent acting as ambassadors and appealing directly to the community. Finally, 116 CPD officers engaged their communities as District Ambassadors and could be seen on every corner across the city talking with candidates and sharing their personal stories about why they wanted to become a police officer.
“The diverse applicant pool is a direct result of Mayor Emanuel and the City’s commitment to hiring individuals who are reflective of the communities they serve,” said DHR Commissioner Choi. “We look forward to working with these applicants throughout the application and pre-employment process.”
The Brown Farmer Media Group, a minority-and-woman owned business, was selected to support the recruitment effort, coordinating events, leading social media engagement and developing important grassroots and community partnerships. The selection underscores the Police Department’s commitment to achieving its hiring goals while also laying the groundwork for a more diverse police department. Diversity within the Department’s senior command ranks is already at historic levels. Sixty percent of police chiefs and 50 percent of deputy chiefs are African-American, and more women are serving in executive leadership roles than at any previous point in the Department’s history.
This latest CPD recruitment campaign launched on November 22 during an event at Police Headquarters. The theme of this year’s recruitment campaign was, “Be the Change,” which reflects the belief that this new generation of police officers will be future leaders who define how police support, protect and work together with Chicago's communities. By joining the Police Department, candidates will find an opportunity to serve the City while gaining valuable skills and making a lasting impact on an organization in the midst of significant reform.
The City implemented a variety of ways to make it easier for applicants to take the exam and complete the process, including eliminating the $30 exam fee, hosting events where applicants could apply in-person, partnering with the Cook County Workforce Partnership to ensure everyone who wanted to apply had access to the application, and providing opt-in text and email reminders to keep candidates engaged throughout the recruitment period. The city will further support candidates with opportunities to study and prepare for the written exam and physical fitness test.
This announcement comes on the heels of last week's CPD Graduation and Promotions Ceremony honoring 291 officers at Navy Pier, one of the largest CPD ceremonies of its kind since the Mayor took office.
The Police Entry Exam takes place on April 1 and 2 at McCormick Place.