| Chicago Police Department

Some former Chicago police officers who are regretting their decision to quit the force may soon have an opportunity to return to the Chicago Police Department at their old pay grade, but without seniority. And cops from other departments who are interested in joining CPD for the first time may be offered an expedited process and a more generous starting salary. That’s all according to documents shared on Friday by Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #7, the union representing frontline Chicago cops.

Since March 2020, the Chicago Police Department has suffered a net loss of 1,408 officers—about 11%—according to Office of Inspector General data. During those years, CPD’s force of frontline “blue shirt” cops has shrunk from 9,779 officers to 8,455.

While city officials have frequently boasted about their efforts to recruit new cops, CPD is still failing to keep up with attrition. Now, the city may be ready to make its job easier by putting out a welcome mat for experienced officers.

The FOP document, titled “Chicago Police Department Lateral and Rehire Agreement,” dated February 27, said ex-CPD officers under the age of 50 would be eligible for rehire within 36 months of their separation date.

According to the document, former CPD officers may be welcomed back if they left on good terms and meet basic requirements like not having any debt to the city and holding a current Illinois law enforcement license. Routine steps like a drug test, background check, residency verification, and physical and psychological exams will still apply.

Rehires will go to the city’s police academy for an “individualized training plan,” according to the FOP.

The document did not provide extensive detail about the city’s process for onboarding “lateral hires,” cops who want to join CPD from other agencies. But the document said those candidates must be under 40 years old, and if hired, they will start on probationary status for “at least” one year.

The city is launching a separate program for retired Chicago police officers who want to work for the department in civilian positions.

Why would an officer who bailed out of CPD want to return to a job they didn’t like?

“It’s the same department they hated before,” noted one current officer when discussing cops who want to return to CPD.

One ex-cop told us he could “write a book on my complaints with suburban policing,” citing a lack of “discretion” as one of his major grievances with his new department.

“Better the devil you know,” said another departed Chicago cop who’s eyeing a return to the force.


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