In an effort to recruit more minorities, the Chicago police department has said that they are seriously considering dropping the entrance exam requirement. By scrapping the exam, the police department hope to recruit more minorities, save millions of dollars on test preparation, and avoid legal battles over the fairness of the exams.
If the process is opened to everyone who applies and meets the minimum education and residency requirements, Chicago would be virtually alone among major cities. Most cities have police entrance exams — and for good reason, experts say.
“A background check and a psych [exam] alone will not eliminate some people who should not be there,” said Brad Woods, who ran the Personnel Division under former Chicago Police Superintendents Phil Cline and Terry Hillard.
Calling an application-only process a “step backward” and the “wrong way to go,” Woods said, “When you lower your quality, you will get poor police service and more complaints. … Whenever you make it easier to be the police, you’re doing the citizens and the Police Department a disservice.”
By lowering the bar, you are eliminating most of the eleven tracks a person must currently pass in order to be a police officer in Chicago. If candidates cannot pass even the most basic literacy tests, you are setting them up for failure, and increased costs for new officers, later on.
“We were getting people with 60 hours of college credit who were reading at a third-grade level. What do you think you’ll get if you have no screening process?”
You will get low quality, poorly educated officers. You will also get officers who don’t understand the law because they cannot read and reason. You will end up with hired thugs to placate minorities.
This also doesn’t take into account that, after you pass the academy, you are required to take a state exam. You are given a couple of tries to pass, but, if you don’t pass, you don’t become a police officer. So, dropping the entrance exam does little to save the department money. You will have wasted money and man hours training someone who still cannot pass the final exam.
“Fraternal Order of Police President Mark Donahue said the idea “sounds too stupid to be true.”
Indeed, it is.