CHICAGO — Earlier this year, in the wake of the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, a federal judge approved an overhaul of the Chicago Police Department’s practices and policies. That consent decree has led to changes in the way the department trains its recruits.
The department said the 26 week training program now focuses heavily on community policing, use of force and stress management.
Recruits also get experience in a virtual reality simulator where they experience numerous computer-generated scenarios. The simulator is one of the department’s newest tools to condition recruits to filter through ambient noise and chaotic scenes.
The recruits also go to the Law Enforcement Medical and Rescue Training at O’Hare Airport.
They learn how to use first aid kits to provide immediate care to their partners, themselves and other victims.
The current class of recruits is one of the most diverse with significant increases in Latino, African-American and female applicants.
After training and an exam, the recruits will spend over year as a probationary officer before becoming a full-fledged police officer.
Over 1,300 people took the police exam and 424 of those applicants made it to the police academy. The department is running another series of exams on May 31, June 1 and June 2.