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'Willing to make that change': CPD turns to college students to boost recruiting numbers

CPD turns to college students to boost recruiting numbers
CPD turns to college students to boost recruiting numbers 02:32

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Between a climate of distrust and recent violence toward police these days, who wants to be a cop?

That's the issue faced by short-staffed departments across the country. In Chicago, the city's police department is setting its sights on college kids.

CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey joins us live from Generations College in the Loop where criminal justice majors are stepping up to the plate.

It's a tough sell but CPD recruiters have been focusing on programs and fortunately, still finding interested recruits to fill these important jobs.

"I used to do security for a church I attended. Me and my cousin took the test and when we took the test, we passed."

Officer Malcolm Brooks sort of fell into policing five years ago and now he's working around the clock to try to fill an approximately 1,100 officer shortage in his department.

"Policing kind of took a hit after the George Floyd situation."

"I think that there's something happening with people's perception of policing overall."

Dr. Kenya Grooms, Dean of Academic and Student Affairs at Generations College, understand the climate well. Its Criminal Justice Program enrollment also took a hit in the wake of George Floyd.

"I think all of that causes younger people who are deciding on their career choices that caused them to rethink is that something they really want to get involved in," Grooms said.

But the interest is still there and Officer Brooks says criminal justice students have a huge leg up coming into the academy.

"You have to learn a lot of law, a lot of policy, stuff like that so they have the advantage."

He also runs into students who have always wanted to be a cop -despite the current climate. Like Humboldt Park native Destiny Hernandez.

"I did the medical exam, I did the psych evaluation, and now I'm just waiting for the invitation for the police academy.

She graduated from Generations College last year and has her sights set on being in the next class of recruits.

"It made me want to become a cop, even more, because not all cops are bad cops, you know? And there are people like me and police officers out there who are willing to make that change."

CPD announced in March that it's is waiving the education requirement for three years of experience in certain jobs and careers. 

Click here for more information on the Chicago Police Department recruitment program and for more information on Generations College and the programs there, click here

Visit this page for details on the requirements to be a CPD officer. 

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