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Chicago PD Turns Recruiting Sights to Its Former Cops

Facing around 1,500 vacancies for sworn officers, the Chicago Police Department announced a double-barreled recruiting drive aimed at winning back retired CPD officers and hiring cops away from other agencies, the Chicago Tribune reports. The program will reward retired CPD officers and officers from outside the city with salary credit for their experience and waive required exams or police academy graduation. Many officers have left the force since the start of the pandemic, a trend that has dominated political talk in next week's vote for Chicago mayor, even though the trend is common to many departments nationwide.

The sharp decline in the police force’s ranks ebbed in early 2022. However, the number of sworn police officers in Chicago has not significantly grown as the department’s uptick in applications and new hires is matched by continued departures. Under both new programs, officers who join or rejoin the department will go to the police academy for only “an individualized training plan” and will not have to sit for a police exam.

The new hires will also receive credit in their salaries for the years they have already been police officers, the department said. All hired officers will join the force at the police officer rank, regardless of the rank they previously held at CPD or another police department. The new hires will still be required to pass a background check and all preemployment hiring steps, the department said. The former-CPD program is restricted to people under 50 years old who left the department within the past three years. Veterans of other departments must be under 40 years old. John Catanzara, the police union’s president, told the Tribune that the FOP backed the programs “because we’re short 2,000 officers and we’re sick of working extra days and cancellations.” “Every little bit helps,” said Catanzara, who was reelected in early March as FOP president. The police union had been trying to get such programs in place for over a year, he said. Many former police officers want to come back to the department after going to other departments, Catanzara said, “but didn’t want to start from the bottom of the barrel” or have to go through the police academy again.


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