Chicago Police Department Raises Minimum Age

The Chicago Police Department made an announcement on Nov. 3 that the age to apply to become an officer will become 25 years of age and that military veterans will be a hiring preference.

Police Supt. Jody Weis said the age requirement will only help better the Chicago Police, “ We believe this will not only cast a wider net of applicants but remain consistent with our intended goal to encourage a more established and mature police force.”

Chicago Police also announced that it will require a written entrance exam. City Hall has already began accepting applications for the Dec. 11 police exam- the first test in four years.

The police academy just gained a 120 member class last month and the department. The police department is looking to hire as many as 200 more officers in order to fill the city’s ongoing police officer shortage. The shortage triggered a police protest in September and prompted Daley to propose taking scores of police officers out of community policing.

Twenty percent of the applicants picked for each class will also be veterans, as long as they apply, Weis said. Veterans who are returning and who are looking to take the exam will be given three make-up opportunities. Veterans with an age as low as 21 will, however, be considered if they have three consecutive years of active duty service-or one year of military duty and 30 semester hours of college credit. All other applicants must be a least 25 and have completed 60 semester hours of college.

Changing the application age from 21 to 25 is not something everyone is agreeing with. Currently, New York and Los Angeles have a minimum hiring age of 21.

The change in policy may take away opportunity for those qualified candidates who are not able or willing to start their chosen career path until the age of 25.

The announcement of the change will affect one other group: the 29 men and woman in the police department’s Cadet Program. The Cadet Program provides training for students (ages 17-21) who are interested in careers in public safety, law enforcement, criminal justice, and fire science. The group will meet with the police leaders and board members to agree on a comprise about the age requirement.

Police Committee Chairman Anthony Beale is upset about the change in policy, “If a person can’t even take the test until they are 25, they’re gonna get hired until they’re 27 or 28.”

The department will accept applications online through Nov. 26 at chicagopolice.org for new police officers. The maximum age is 40 at the time of hire.