Chicago making heavy push to recruit minorities for next police academy class

FOX 32 NEWS - Chicago Police have launched a new offensive, but this one is not targeting criminals.

Instead, it's aimed at recruiting minorities to be a part of the next police class. The goal is to further diversify the rank and file.

“CPD's command staff is already the most diverse leadership team in the department's history, with more minorities and women serving in senior roles than ever before, but we can do better and that's what we aim to do,” said Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

It comes as the city is about to mark the one year anniversary of the release of the Laquan McDonald video, which showed the black teen being shot 16 times by a white police officer. One community activist says the minority recruitment is a good start, but it can't end there.

“We don't want this just to be a short term action in order to cool some simmering emotions here in the city. In order for it to be effective, it needs to be a long term piece because many in the minority community just don't trust the fifth floor or the police department because such negative experiences,” said Rev. Greg Livingston of Coalition for a New Chicago

The city has hired a minority run publicity agency to recruit potential applicants.

“Our particular campaign will be very authentic to connecting to the community at a grass roots level,” said Deborah Farmer of Farmer Brown Media Group

The minority recruitment effort is part of the city's two year plan to add 970 officers, reduce crime and improve community trust.

“And we have made a lot of changes, not a straight line from A to B to C, today is an example of that change because we're embarking on a different course,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

During the exam given earlier this year, the majority of the 5000 applicants were minority, but many did not take the test because of the cost. So this year, the city will be waiving the fee for minorities. The next test is in April.