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The Chicago Police Department is scrambling to hire newly separated U.S. Marines in an effort to overcome an officer shortage of more than 1,000.
“The reality is that we need to close the gaps quickly,” Chicago Police Deputy Chief Migdalia Bulnes said, according to CBS.
The department said it recently hired 50 new officers, but that number still leaves them about 1,300 short of what they need. This reality brought Bulnes and six other officers, all Marine veterans, to Camp Pendleton, Calif., to recruit leaving Marines for the Chicago Police Department.
Filling the vacuum will not be an easy task for the city’s police, with other police departments across the country also facing officer shortages following a wave of resignations and retirements following the protests. against the death of George Floyd in 2020. According to a survey of 172 police departments across the country by the Police Executive Research Forum, resignations have increased by 40% since 2019 while retirements have increased by 25 %
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“These negative changes have almost certainly been caused in large part by the extreme strains the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on policing in 2020 and 2021, and the thousands of protests and demonstrations that have followed the killing of George Floyd. in 2020, which in many cases involved acts of violence and hostility towards police officers,” reads the inquest’s conclusion.
But some wonder if turning to Navy veterans, a group of highly skilled and fit people, is the right solution to the shortage.
“The first thing is, are we making the enforcement process too militant?” Bulnes asks. “And no, we’re not. They’re individuals, just like us, just like you. The process will weed out those with issues.”
The Chicago Police Department has now simplified the process for Marines to rejoin the department when they separate from service, immediately giving drug screenings and background checks to 19 Marines who applied with the force at Camp Pendleton . Previously, the process took several months, but has been condensed to three weeks for prospective civilian Marines.
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“I just want to bring down the crime rate and serve a great community,” said Cpl. Jeremiah Harrington, one of the Marines applying, said he wanted to serve for the department.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office and the Chicago Police Department did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment on the incitement to hire Marines.