CITY HALL — Of the 804 new Chicago Police officers hired in 2017, 41 percent are white, according to data provided to aldermen Thursday. Some 35 percent are Hispanic, 17 percent are black and 7 percent are Asian.
That's evidence, says Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), that process the department is using to hire more than 1,000 new officers by the end of 2018 "systematically discriminates" against black and Latino Chicagoans.
"If we don't hurry up and change this process, we are going to have a problem," Beale said.
The Police Department's 2018 budget includes $65 million to fund the second and final phase of an effort to hire nearly 1,000 officers to stop a surge in violence that swept the South and West sides starting in 2016 — a goal Supt. Eddie Johnson said he would achieve.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel vowed to ensure that those new officers reflected the city's multicultural makeup, and his office repeatedly trumpeted the fact that 76 percent of the 14,200 people who applied to the police department earlier this month were black, Latino or Asian.
Commenting on the racial data revealed Thursday, "That does not make sense," adding, "The test discriminates systematically against minorities."
Many African Americans fail to make it through the hiring process because they have poor credit ratings, often times because they have failed to make a payment on a student loan, Beale said. That creates a vicious circle where people can't get a job, and fall behind on their bills — and then can't get a job because of the missed payments.
"This has been burning my ass for years," Beale said.
Overall, the department is 48 percent white, with black and Latino officers each making up 24 percent of the department, according to CPD data. Asian officers make up 4 percent, according to the data.
The overall city makeup in 2016 was 32.6 percent white, 29.7 percent Hispanic, 29.3 percent black and 6.3 percent Asian, according to the U.S. Census.
Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) urged the department to redouble its efforts to recruit Asian officers, especially those who belong to the Muslim faith in order to serve a growing community in his North Side ward.