CHICAGO — After years of officer departures, the Chicago Police Department on Friday announced the creation of two programs that would expedite the rehiring of officers who have recently left the department and allow officers from other municipalities to join the CPD.
The “rehire program” would allow officers — age 50 or younger — who left the CPD in the last three years to return to the department at the rank of police officer, regardless of which rank they held when they left. Rehires will be paid at the same rate as when they left the CPD.
Meanwhile, the “lateral hire program” allows officers in other municipalities to join the CPD while receiving credit for service time in other police departments. To qualify for the lateral hire program, those officers must be younger than 40 at the time of hire and complete a 12-month probationary period and “an individualized training plan,” according to a statement from the CPD.
The terms of the programs were agreed upon last month by the CPD and the Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents rank-and-file officers and retirees.
“We have been the ones pushing for this for over a year now,” FOP President John Catanzara said in a text message to WGN on Friday.
The CPD currently has about 11,700 sworn officers, according to data from the Office of the Inspector General. As of late March, the department had roughly 1,500 vacant police officer positions.
“We recognized there was a need for these programs that we are excited to provide to qualified candidates who have a passion for service,” Interim CPD Supt. Eric Carter said in a statement.
To qualify for re-hiring, former CPD officers must request to come back within 36 months of their departure. Additionally, those potential re-hires must have left their job “in good standing” and have retained their state law enforcement officer certification. They must also reside in the city and have a valid FOID card.
Potential lateral hires must abide by the same requirements, including that they reside in Chicago.