CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -- The Chicago Police Department is hiring, but the deadline is January 31.
The department hosted an informational open house Saturday at the police academy where close to one thousand people participated.
This is the first time since 2013 the department has hired new recruits and it comes at a time when it is under scrutiny for the handling of the Laquan McDonald case.
There are currently 12,500 Chicago Police officers.
Statistics show a difference in the racial makeup of the force compared to the community. The department reports 22.6 percent of the force is African American, while the U.S. Census Bureau reports 32.9 percent of the city’s population is African American.
“We want as many races, creeds and religions as represented as possible we want to be as diverse as possible,” said Chicago Police Department Spokesperson Veejay Zala.
He said the recent scrutiny of the police departments has not halted interest in the hiring process.
“We understand this is a difficult time and we are going to address those issues, but we encourage those people that feel that they can make a difference to come forward and join our ranks,” he said.
Potential recruits said the negative light and headlines are getting in their way of applying.
“If you don't like what you see be the light you want to see in the world,” said Sable Nerette who applied Saturday. “I'm kind of powered, I just signed up to take the test I am ready, April come on.”
Department officials said after 18 months on the job an officer can earn about $72,000 a year.