The Chicago Police Department’s hiring process, which stretches on for more than a year, disproportionately reduces the number of Black candidates — especially women — hoping to join the department, according to a watchdog study released Thursday, reports NBC News.
The city’s Office of Inspector General analyzed Chicago police’s hiring practices from 2016 to 2018, chronicling the volume and rate of attrition, no-shows and success at each stage of the process based on race and gender.
The police force “has a disproportionately high attrition rate for Black candidates, especially Black female applicants, which contributes to the low number of Black officers hired,” the OIG review concluded.
It also said Black candidates made up 37 percent of the applicant pool, but just 18 percent of prospective officers were invited to the police academy. In contrast, “Asian, Hispanic and White candidates increased in their proportion of the applicant pool by the end of the hiring process,” the report found.
The Inspector General department is independent and nonpartisan.
Deborah Witzburg, OIG’s deputy inspector general for public safety, said in a statement the department’s hiring “does not reflect the City’s rich demographic diversity — not because of the pool that goes into the process, but because of the pool that comes out of it.”
“It is the disproportionate attrition of minority candidates throughout … that drives underrepresentation of certain demographic groups among those hired,” Witzburg said.
The 70-page watchdog report said that of Chicago police’s 13,000 employees, about 11,000 are officers.
In 2017, more than half of the department’s employees were White, 25 percent Hispanic and 20 percent Black. That year, about 22 percent of the department’s officers were women, USA Today reported.
The OIG said the city’s hiring process can take up to 1.5 years and examines a candidate’s cognitive and physical abilities, mental health and background.