The Chicago Police Department is seriously considering scrapping the police entrance exam, sources tell Fran Spielman.
Dropping the exam would bolster minority hiring and avert legal battles, according to one source, while others confirm that the exam could be scrapped to open the process to as many people as possible.
However, the lack of an exam would make Chicago the lone major city without one, and experts contend that the exam is integral to eliminating unqualified applicants.
The CPD has tried in recent years to boost minority hiring by offering the police exam online and turning to minority clergy to help in the recruitment effort.
But those efforts have met with frustration. Despite seeing an increase in the number of minority applicants in 2006, the last year the exam was offered, the online component was never launched.
And as of last year, one in four patrol officers were African-American, but just one in 12 Lieutenants were of color.
Officials at City Hall have admitted that they have been exploring exam options since last fall, according to the Sun-Times.
The CPD is currently operating at 2,000 officers-a-day short of its authorized strength. Police hired only 46 officers this year, with plans to hire less than 100 next year -- and those hirings rely on federal funds.
What's more, City Hall has floated the idea of imposing cop furloughs to meet a tight budget.