New CPD requirements applauded

By Editorial Board

Police Superintendent Jody Weis announced on Oct. 28 that the Chicago Police Department changed requirements for applying to be a police officer, in order to attract more mature candidates.

The minimum age to apply for the police academy was raised from 21 to 25, and a written entrance exam will be given for the first time in four years. At least 20 percent of enrollment will be reserved for military veterans. Veterans who have served for three consecutive years and have at least 30 hours of college credit along with CPD police cadets can still apply at age 21.

In a time when the CPD is short more than 2,300 officers a day, according to the Chicago Sun Times, it is important that the few who can be added to the force are the most qualified.

However, it has been speculated that the new requirements are based on budget concerns in order to target the most prepared individuals who might need the least amount of training. There are a few more steps the CPD could take in order to show citizens this is not the case.

Along with young veterans who meet the requirements to apply before age 25, the CPD should also grandfather in those who have been working in its cadet program. Cadets work in the districts learning how to become officers by receiving daily, hands-on training—their level of preparedness is already higher than other candidates.

Additionally, while it makes sense for the CPD to recruit veterans, allotting them a certain number of spots could potentially exclude other equally qualified applicants. Veterans’ applications should be considered with the same scrutiny as others. If they are the most qualified, as many of them likely are, it will be reflected in the application.

Although officers hired under the new requirements will likely be more experienced, CPD training should not be scaled back as a result. Training with the CPD goes well beyond the state mandate of requiring 500 hours, with extra training pertaining to issues a major metropolis faces, such as gang violence and terrorism awareness.  This training is essential to our city’s safety.

The CPD has taken a bold step to ensure the estimated 200 officers it will hire next year are of the highest caliber. Because funding limits preclude hiring the number of officers needed, it is the CPD’s responsibility to produce the most qualified

officers possible.