The Chicago Police Department has launched several programs to recruit 1,500 officers. The programs seek to re-engage retired officers and professionals from other law enforcement agencies to combat the increase in crime throughout the city.
Crime increased by 41% in 2022
The rise in crime in Chicago continues to break records in 2023, despite reaching levels never before seen in the city in 2022. Last year, with Lori Lightfoot as mayor, Chicago was the city with the most homicides (695) of any state in the country. In addition, the number of crimes increased by 41%.
In fact, crime was one of the keys to Lightfoot's defeat in her campaign for re-election last February. Not surprisingly, 71% of Chicago residents indicated that crime was their number one concern. The now acting mayor, however, cut budget allocations to the police by more than $80 million in 2020.
Around 660 Chicago police officers retired in 2021
To further complicate the Chicago Police Department’s delicate situation, in 2021 around 660 officers retired. The police department has not been able to recover from such a loss. Despite recruiting new officers in the past year, the continuous stream of people leaving the police force has meant that the city has not been able to fill the vacancies. Officials have indicated that they are having difficulty even getting enough officers to patrol the streets on a daily basis.
The new plans are aimed at recruiting retired officers under the age of 50 who could quickly join the service. Therefore, the offer for access to the accelerated recruitment procedure has been made to former Chicago police officers who left the force in the last 36 months. Those selected would be reinstated as officers, regardless of the position they held at the time of retirement. "They must also pass all pre-employment formalities and an individualized training plan through the Training and Support Group when they are rehired," the police statement said.
The proposal to recruit officers from other law enforcement agencies is aimed at people under 40 years of age who are in active service. These individuals will receive credits in relation to their experience. They will have a one-year probationary period and will undergo customized training.
Chicago Police endorse Paul Vallas for mayor
Finally, the new officers must be approved by the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police. The union has publicly supported Paul Vallas in the mayoral election race, who proposed hiring up to 2,000 officers. His rival, Brandon Johnson takes after Lightfoot and is an advocate of the movement to defund the police.
To every Chicagoan who wants what is best for our city, your vote for @PaulVallas means more than ever!
Early Voting sites are located in all 50 Wards of Chicago and at the two Downtown Sites for the April 4th Municipal Run-Off Election will run through #ElectionDay. Vote today! pic.twitter.com/y9x4t1hdKA
— Fraternal Order of Police - Chicago Lodge #7 (@FOP7Chicago) March 28, 2023