‘Willing to make this change’: CPD turns to middle school students to boost recruitment numbers

CHICAGO (SCS) — Between climate of mistrust and recent violence against the police these days, who wants to be a cop?

This is the problem faced by understaffed departments across the country. In Chicago, the city’s police department is targeting college kids.

CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey joins us live from Generations College in the Loop, where criminal justice majors come in.

It’s a tough sell, but DPC’s recruiters have focused on the programs and, thankfully, are still finding interested recruits to fill these important positions.

“I used to do security for a church I attended. Me and my cousin took the test and when we took the test, we passed.”

Constable Malcolm Brooks kind of fell into policing five years ago and now he’s working around the clock trying to fill a shortage of around 1,100 officers in his department.

“The police kind of took a hit after the George Floyd situation.”

“I think there’s something going on with people’s perception of the police in general.”

Dr Kenya Grooms, Dean of Academic and Student Affairs at Generations College, understands the climate well. His enrollment in the criminal justice program also took a hit in the wake of George Floyd.

“I think all of this makes young people who are deciding their career choices rethink, it’s something they really want to be involved in,” Grooms said.

But the interest is still there and Officer Brooks says criminal justice students have a huge head start entering the academy.

“You have to learn a lot of laws, a lot of policies, stuff like that for them to have the advantage.”

He also meets students who have always wanted to be a cop – despite the current climate. Like Destiny Hernandez, from Humboldt Park.

“I did the medical, I did the psychological evaluation, and now I’m just waiting for the invitation to the police academy.

She graduated from Generations College last year and aims to be part of the next class of recruits.

“It made me want to be a cop, even more, because not all cops are bad cops, you know? And there are people like me and police officers who are ready to make that change.”

CPD announced in March that it was waiving the education requirement for three years of experience in certain jobs and careers.

Click here for more information on the Chicago Police Department Recruitment Program and for more information on Generations College and its programs, click here.

Visit this page for more details on the requirements to be a DPC officer.


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