CHICAGO— More than 14,000 Chicagoans applied to join the Chicago Police Department, city officials announced Sunday.
That is a 15 percent decrease from the last time the police department accepted applications in February, but slightly more than the number of prospective police officers who applied in 2015, officials said.
The pool of applicants — who will take an exam in December to determine whether they are qualified to enter the five-month police academy — is the most diverse in the city's history. Nearly 76 percent told city officials they were not white, according to the mayor's office.
Overall, nearly 35 percent of the applicants were women — also an increase from previous application periods, officials.
In 2015, 71 percent of police department applicants were nonwhite, officials said.
The large pool of diverse applicants comes after Mayor Rahm Emanuel vowed to work “double hard” to meet his pledge to expand the Police Department by 970 officers — and ensure those new officers reflect the city's multicultural makeup.
The second half of the hiring blitz is expected to cost about $65 million in 2018.
Starting pay for police officers is $48,078; it jumps to $72,510 after 1½ years.
Emanuel said earlier this month that 85-100 new officers have been hitting Chicago's streets per month as part of that hiring push since September.
December's police police exam is the third exam in four years as city officials struggle to stop a surge in violence that started in 2016. Another police exam is not expected to be scheduled until 2019.
Despite a drop in shootings last month, 2017 remains one of the more violent years in recent memory.