The Chicago Sun Times
is reporting that the Chicago Police Department is strongly considering
getting rid of their entrance exam because they say it costs them too
much to administer. Eliminating the test would save the city millions
of dollars during a difficult economic time, and it would also boost
minority hiring. As of late 2008 Chicago’s police force was made up of
29% African American and 17% Hispanic officers.
Recently, the city tried to cut costs
connected to the entrance exam by switching it to an internet-format,
however then there is no way to verify that the person logged-in and
answering questions is, in fact, the applicant. Now, media reports
suggest they might drop the exam altogether and make the process
application-only, which will open up the process to more people.
Critics think the concept of eliminating
the written entrance exam is a big mistake, and without the test the
city would basically be giving badges and guns to people who have met
only very basic physical and mental requirements, without any
indication that they are truly fit for duty.
Charlie Roberts, who used to be in charge
of the Chicago Police Department’s training division says the entrance
exam, which focuses on things like reading comprehension and logic, is
a critical filter. He explains that, “there is nothing automatic about
going through 24 weeks at the police academy. They would have to show
us that they could handle it. Handle what? Handle the ability to make a
judgment as to when to take away from an American something they value
greatly, their liberty, and in some extreme cases, their very life.
That’s what’s at stake.”
Nobody from the city would speak to FOX
News about this story, but the size of their force is likely another
reason they are considering making it easier to become a cop. Chicago
is presently two thousand officers a day short of their authorized
strength, and up to one thousand officers plan to retire within the
next year. So, dropping the entrance exam would not only save the city
millions of dollars in administration costs, but it would also give the
force some desperately needed officers.