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  • Unfit CPD Applicants Passing Background Investigations

    FRANK MAIN and ANNIE SWEENEY
    Chicago Sun Times


    Some were rejected from suburban police departments.

    Others sold cocaine and smoked pot.

    A few were thieves. Others are related to crooks. One was even a gang member.

    They're among dozens of people restored to the Chicago Police Department's hiring list after they were found unfit to become cops.

    The Chicago Sun-Times explored a little-known appeals process for police applicants blackballed because of problems in their backgrounds.

    Of 221 who appealed, 79 people were returned to the hiring list by the city's Human Resources Board between 2005 and 2007, records show.

    One-hundred twenty-eight were kept off the hiring list and another 14 withdrew their appeals.

    Many of those returned to the hiring list are related to current or retired cops who spoke on their behalf. Three times, aldermen successfully went to bat for rejected applicants.

    The appeals process was originally designed to prevent racial bias in hiring, but none of the appeals reviewed by the Sun-Times alleged discrimination.

    Former Police Supt. Phil Cline, who retired last year, fought unsuccessfully to remove the Human Resources Board from police hiring decisions.

    "I remember I had people that we said we did not want to hire -- and they [the Human Resources Board] told us to put them on the list and hire them. Some of those officers did not do well at all," said retired Chicago Police Cmdr. Brad Woods, who ran the department's personnel division under Cline and former Supt. Terry Hillard.

    Woods said the department tried to block the hiring of officers with gang associations or minor crimes like petty theft or drug possession in their backgrounds -- only to be overruled by the Human Resources Board.

    "If you have a tendency to steal or commit a theft, there is a chance you will do that again. You are not honest. . . . They might be fine to work at Home Depot, but they should not have a job carrying a gun and being exposed to all the opportunities [for misconduct] on the street," Woods said.

    Woods said he does not think the Human Resources Board has followed a consistent set of rules.

    "They did not have any real hard, documentable evidence of what makes someone hirable or not," he said, pointing out that he and former Chicago Police general counsel Sheri Mecklenburg met with the Human Resources Board in 2007 to discuss their misgivings about the appeals process.

    "If you are rejected by another police department, we shouldn't hire you," Woods said. "There are people that got on [the Chicago Police Department] that I question."

    The Human Resources Board, made up of three members appointed by Mayor Daley, acknowledged there is no legal reason for it to hear appeals from police applicants.

    "There currently is no legal requirement that CPD afford disqualified applicants a hearing before the HR Board," the board wrote in a response to written questions from the Sun-Times. "However, CPD has opted to continue the process. . . . It was determined that the HR Board had experience in such matters and would therefore be the best place to conduct such hearings."

    The current police superintendent, Jody Weis, said he is reviewing the matter.

    The Sun-Times wanted to know if anyone who successfully appealed to get on the Police Department's hiring list was later arrested for a crime.

    But when the newspaper provided the board with the names of officers arrested in recent years, a Human Resources Department spokeswoman said the board could not search its application files for the names.

    "We do not track past cases," the board added in a written response.

    Of the 79 people who successfully appealed their rejections from the Chicago Police Department:

    - Eighteen were former drug users. A woman said she was a cocaine dealer at age 12. Others gave seemingly far-fetched excuses: One man, whose father is a Chicago Police sergeant, said he was in Mexico and smoked a cigarette but stopped when he realized it was pot. A woman said she only smoked pot in Amsterdam, where it's legal.

    - Five, including a former Calumet Park cop, were arrested on domestic battery charges. One of them admitted hitting his daughter with a watch during a spanking and was accused of abusing a child in the Cook County juvenile detention center. Another man admitted striking his mother.

    - Four were arrested for battery, including a man who slashed someone with a knife in a bar fight, a man who pushed a teacher down a stairwell as a youngster, a bar brawler and a Cook County Jail guard accused of beating an inmate. He kept his jail job after criminal charges were dropped.

    - Six were in the military and ran into disciplinary problems, including a man who admitted he was diagnosed with a personality defect in the Navy, a man with a "troubling history" in the Navy that previously barred him from the Chicago Police Department, a woman who failed to show up for National Guard duty and a man who was absent without leave.

    - Four were rejects from other police departments, including a woman forced to resign from a Michigan department, a man who failed a Milwaukee Police Department background check, a man who failed an Elmhurst police polygraph and a man who failed a Phoenix Police Department polygraph.

    - Three were tied to gangs in the past, including a Cook County correctional officer who said he was a former Two-Sixer and failed to disclose a disorderly conduct arrest.

    - Two were fired from jobs, including a Cook County sheriff's deputy fired from two security jobs.

    - Two were relatives of crooks, including a woman whose husband is a convicted murderer and member of the Vice Lords street gang.

    - Others were involved in theft, reckless driving, turnstile jumping and underage drinking.

    - Three were endorsed by aldermen despite prior problems with the law. Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) backed a woman arrested for impeding a shooting investigation; Ald. Helen Shiller (46th) vouched for a man who threatened to shoot someone, and Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) supported a man who sold drugs in the late 1990s.

    Preckwinkle said she was unaware of the Human Resources Board's role in police hirings until she was approached by a pastor who asked her to speak on behalf of a rejected applicant. She and the pastor met with the applicant. "He was honest about his earlier mistakes," she said. "I felt he would be a good police officer."
    Are we really surprised? I love Chicago, and I love CPD - but it's no secret that we have one of the biggest political PDs in the nation. With that said, it's pretty clear the editor is "anti-copish."

    Let me hear you guys (especially current CPD) opinions. Thoughts please?
    Last edited by StephDakel; 09-08-2008, 05:06 PM. Reason: Adding editors name
    Gov Blagojevich - "I'am the American dream...."

  • #2
    this goes back to why I said don't be suprised if they do start using poly's. I know too many officers that turned out to be good guys but have secrets and have close relatives that weren't invited to graduation!
    Inmate: Why y'all treat us like criminals
    Me: you really want an answer to that
    Inmate: Man thats crazy CO

    Comment


    • #3
      I would venture to say that most CPD officers are good people and do a great job. They got in because of their qualifications and stayed on because they're good at what they do. But like it's been said and is known, Chicago is extremely political and bureaucratic. The mopes that do slip through the cracks are the reason why CPD and other departments pay millions of dollars per year in lawsuits, give the department a bad name, and become the victim of knee-jerk general orders that bring down morale and make it easier for criminals to do what they do. They're the reason why people like J-Fed are brought in to take over a department and why the media hates CPD. They're the reason why a lot of good, qualified applicants steer clear of the city because they just don't want to deal with the nonsense. And seriously, do you want some dirtbag that used to sell crack or someone whose husband is a convicted gang-bangin' killer coming to your rescue when other gang-bangin', crack-dealing mopes are trying to kill you for taking them down?

      Comment


      • #4
        Not always the case. One of my co-workers who had juice- two higher ranking family members in CPD got rejected for some BS that happened in one of his previous jobs.
        You shut your mouth when you're talking to me!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by cubsfan07 View Post
          "They're the reason why people like J-Fed are brought in to take over a department and why the media hates CPD."
          J-Fed was brought in to save Richies *** and to try and get the olympics to chicago....Those are the only reasons....

          Every department has its problematic officers. The media just chooses to highlight those officers from the CCSD-DOC and Chicago Police the most. A good example is that a Courts Deputy was arrested out of state with 123lbs of pot and 5 or 6 grams of cocaine, but it never made the news here. Had it been a Correctional Officer it would have been front page news.

          The media picks and chooses what it highlights. Its plain and simple you will never see an article TRUELY highlighting the CPD or DOC in a good light. The media just wont allow it.

          Comment


          • #6
            I love how the city has a "secret" appeals process, but you can only appeal if you happen to have an alderman that will speak up for you.

            What about Woods stating that if you are rejected from another dept. we shouldnt hire you, so if you fail a psych at one department, but pass it at two others CPD shouldnt hire you because you were at one time rejected by a department?

            Comment


            • #7
              How could they give someone the boot because of not passing with another department. If ALL departments required the SAME education, gave the SAME written, SAME poly, SAME psych, and had the same BI then it makes since. But they dont. So they shouldnt be allowed to use previous results.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm excited. That's 79 people who are potentially put back in front of us on the waiting list. Guess my hopes of getting on in three years was a pipe dream. Three years, five years, who's really counting anymore? I hope I can still run while wearing adult diapers. I guess you can call me a disgruntled Feb 06 tester.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by archercapt32 View Post
                  What about Woods stating that if you are rejected from another dept. we shouldnt hire you, so if you fail a psych at one department, but pass it at two others CPD shouldnt hire you because you were at one time rejected by a department?
                  I think it might be fair to say that the Detectives that get assigned to do Background Investigations are looking for the best possible candidates for the PD. I dont know of any BI who wants to be under the hotseat for passing an unfit candidates. That being said, if the reasons ARTICULATED in his investigation do not support hiring candidate a do not support a reason to hire he should not be hired. Remember you are going by a news article. Lets not forget candidates that have been fired by other agencies, or do have questionable backgrounds. The psych is but one component. Many agencies require a polygraph, Chicago is not one of them, if info is obtained in a polygraph that questions the suitability of a candidate why cant it be used?? The bottom line is that when Chicago hires they hire up to 100 PPO's at a time. With that kind of turnaround do you always think that a CPD background, while thorough, gets what is truly needed??? A suburban agency, when they hire, may hire a couple of bodies, maybe as many as ten at a time. They have the time to invest in conducting a THOROUGH investigation. Ask how thorough the background is for ISP or any of the Federal agencies or other CIty PD's that have had their butts handed to them, LA, San Diego, Houston, even NYPD because their candidates were not properly vetted. Remember the lessons from the 80's when Miami hired a ton of people that now occupy much of the Florida DOC. A little closer to home let me remind you of Operation Broken Star in 015 and even the fiasco that came to light in 014. The simple fact is that agencies with high, unwavering standards for employment tend to have fewer problems and lawsuits and embarassing news stories when a throough application process to include a Background and Poly are conducted and supplemented by emphasizing ethical legal behavior throughout their career.
                  You cant arrest me...I know my Commandments!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I can't speak for CPD, but I know background checks for Federal Agencies are very precise. Multiple background investigators, multiple adjudicators, Washington DC has to sign off on your paperwork, etc.

                    Below is a link to a Gov. website that allows you to view the adjudication process of different background investigations. It's pretty interesting to see how applicants are adjudicated, and either found suitable or unsuitable.

                    http://www.dod.mil/dodgc/doha/industrial/2008.html

                    Here is an example (Federal Background check) of a guy who was found unsuitable for being a weirdo. You be the judge.

                    Applicant is 39 years old and not married. He had a seven-year relationship with a woman he met over the internet, but never met in person. He became engaged to her and sent her substantial sums of money during those seven years. Although he lost access to sensitive compartmented information (SCI) with another Defense agency as a consequence of it, he continued the relationship for another year while working for his current employer, another defense contractor. He failed to mitigate the security concerns raised under Guideline E, pertaining to Personal Conduct. Clearance is denied.

                    http://www.dod.mil/dodgc/doha/indust...7-15344.h1.pdf


                    I'm most likely over reacting. CPD investigations are probably identical. Forgive me guys.
                    Last edited by StephDakel; 09-16-2008, 01:00 PM. Reason: Added links
                    Gov Blagojevich - "I'am the American dream...."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      CityBlusuit you addressed some excellent points, please dont think that I feel the detectives are to blame, cause I dont feel that way at all. I have heard of numerous stories where detectives have reccommended not to hire a certain recruit, but for whatever reason they were overturned. What I took away from the article is that no matter how questionable a background you might have, if you know the "right" people you are good to go.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'll bet there are plenty of good cops on CPD right now that have failed CPD's psych. Does that mean they're crazy? People can fail it for a variety of reasons besides being psychologically unfit for police duty.

                        Polygraphs aren't even 100% accurate, not that many things really are, but how can you use them with so much confidence when a polygraph can't even be admitted in court?

                        I'm willing to bet that the detectives who do the BI want the best possible people because the new guys are going to be the ones watching the backs of the detectives and everyone else on CPD.

                        Having been fired from a job makes you unqualified/unfit to be a LEO? If that were so, I think the starting salaries would be over $100,000 since the pool of "qualified" applicants would be much smaller. I got fired from Taco Bell back in 1995. How much does that have to do with me wanting to be a LEO?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Illinois Edmond View Post
                          I'll bet there are plenty of good cops on CPD right now that have failed CPD's psych. Does that mean they're crazy? People can fail it for a variety of reasons besides being psychologically unfit for police duty.

                          Polygraphs aren't even 100% accurate, not that many things really are, but how can you use them with so much confidence when a polygraph can't even be admitted in court?

                          I'm willing to bet that the detectives who do the BI want the best possible people because the new guys are going to be the ones watching the backs of the detectives and everyone else on CPD.

                          Having been fired from a job makes you unqualified/unfit to be a LEO? If that were so, I think the starting salaries would be over $100,000 since the pool of "qualified" applicants would be much smaller. I got fired from Taco Bell back in 1995. How much does that have to do with me wanting to be a LEO?
                          While it may be true that if they were tested now, many active officers would fail a psych. But for you to say that there are active officers who failed the psych is a little inaccurate. If they failed they would not be hired. The Psych is Pass/fail and one of the required steps in the process. Some agencies use a test and others use an interview.

                          As far as a polygraph goes, what is admitted in court has little bearing on being hired as a police officer. The burden of proof in a civil action is very different than in a criminal action. As well, what is acceptable in the course of an administrative investigation (Background or Internal Affairs) is very different than what is required in a Criminal Investigation.

                          In my post I spoke of applicants who were fired from other law enforcement agencies. Typically a candidate who is fired, on or off probation, has enough justification generated by the terminating agency that explains why he/she is not suitable. More importantly, I wrote about a BI ARTICULATING why a candidate should not be hired. The reasons for being fired from taco bell, even in 1995, can be for a variety of reasons, to include employee theft, failure to show up for work on time, giving away free food to friends, insubordination, failing to maintain a professional appearance and an assortment of other reasons which in the final analysis have EVERYTHING TO DO WITH WANTING TO BE AN LEO
                          You cant arrest me...I know my Commandments!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by archercapt32 View Post
                            CityBlusuit you addressed some excellent points, please dont think that I feel the detectives are to blame, cause I dont feel that way at all. I have heard of numerous stories where detectives have reccommended not to hire a certain recruit, but for whatever reason they were overturned. What I took away from the article is that no matter how questionable a background you might have, if you know the "right" people you are good to go.
                            Juice brings a sad reality to the equation.
                            You cant arrest me...I know my Commandments!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I love the part where the author alludes to one-time marijuana use or underage drinking as reasons someone shouldn't be trusted to be a cop. What a jackass.

                              Comment

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