Questions surrounding the Chicago Police Department’s hiring practices, especially how it relates to minority hiring and the use of psychological evaluations, dominated the two hour hearing with Human Resources Commissioner Soo Choi.
Budget Vice Chair Jason Ervin (28) suggested CPD do away with the psychological exam, noting a “historic problem” of a disproportionate number of African Americans scoring poorly on the tests, despite receiving high marks on the written exam.
“We have heard the concern for a number of years,” Commissioner Choi said.
CPD hires an independent contractor to administer its written and psychological tests. But according to Ald. Willie Cochran (20), the contract is 20 years old.
“They have been providing that same test, over, and over and over again, no revisions or no changes in that,” Ald. Cochran explained. “Our society has changed and it doesn’t suit well for us having not looked at other tools and instruments that are out there.”
But the Department of Human Resources has no authority over the RFP process. It’s a point Commissioner Choi made repeatedly, even as she agreed with the aldermen’s concerns. “Taking a look at the psychological exam is certainly warranted, and I believe that the [police] superintendent has also expressed that same desire.”
Former police officer Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41) suggested the test be done in-house with a scantron sheet. But Commissioner Choi said that kind of testing is “a complicated process” that requires “an appropriate entity to develop and administer the exam”.
In preparation for the upcoming Police Officer exam next February, the Human Resources Department is working with CPD and David Axelrod’s former public affairs firm, ASGK, on developing a recruiting and outreach campaign focused on increasing the number of minority applicants. The last time the CPD administered the test in 2013, more than 14,500 people sat for the exam and 12,713 made it to the eligibility list. That’s a significant increase from the 2010 recruitment pool of 8,621. Choi said the city would like to see those numbers grow.