Who sat for the Chicago Police Department entrance exam in 2021, as the department – facing a higher than usual attrition rate – seeks to both bolster and diversify its ranks following a monitoring report on its retention of minority applicants throughout the application process?
A Chicago Inspector General’s Office report released in July 2021 found that black applicants made up 37% of the initial pool of DPC applicants, but only 18% of those invited to the academy, while “Asian applicants , Hispanics, and Whites increased their proportion of the candidate pool by the end of the hiring process.
In evaluating applications submitted from 2016 to 2018, the OIG noted that black male applicants experienced the highest attrition rate during the background investigation phase, while black female applicants left at the highest rate in the physical fitness test.
New figures obtained by NBC 5 Investigates via Freedom of Information Act request reveal the number of candidates who took the written exam in 2021, broken down by race and gender.
These figures show that a total of 3,789 people took the exam during the months of June, August, October, November and December.
In June, before the OIG report was released, 272 white applicants took the test, compared to 368 black applicants. There were more than double that number of Hispanic applicants, at 891.
At the end of the year, Hispanic candidates were the highest proportion of candidates taking the exam at 1,832, or 48.4%. Black applicants were the second largest group with 1,033, or 27.3%. A total of 639 white applicants took the test, or 16.9%. Asian contestants numbered 120, or 3.2%, while 80 contestants did not state their race and 70 scored two or more runs (both representing about 2% of the total). Nine Native Americans or Alaska Natives took the exam, along with six Native Americans or Pacific Islanders (about 0.2% each).
Of the total 3,789 candidates who took the written exam last year, data shows that 2,564 (67.6%) were male and 1,198 (31.6%) were female, while 27 people did not indicate their gender. The OIG report found that during the period studied, women made up 34% of applications, but failed in the process to ultimately make up only 27% of academy recruits.
The latest figures come as CPD embarks on a push to increase its overall membership, facing a higher than usual attrition rate this year.
“We normally have an attrition rate of around 5% to 6%. We currently have an 8% attrition rate,” Brown said when asked about recruiting at an unrelated news conference Jan. 21, adding that the uptick is “high considering the level of staffing”.
“We have a sense of urgency to hire these vacancies,” Brown continued. “We have a dedicated recruitment team to fill our vacancies. They recruit every day, they go to military bases, job fairs, community colleges. We’re giving more in-person tests, we’re giving, for the first time ever, online tests for everyone, available every day and that’s how serious we are about recruiting to fill our vacancies.
As for the numbers so far this year, Brown said last week that the department received applications from 750 people in January.
In a statement Friday, the CPD said it “continues to ramp up its hiring efforts as law enforcement across the country sees an increase in retirements,” noting that it has created the dedicated unit that “works to hire candidates to reflect the diversity of this city”. .”