Some were rejected from suburban police departments, others sold cocaine and smoked pot, a few were thieves. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that they are among dozens of people restored to the Chicago Police Department’s hiring list after they were found unfit to become cops. The 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.
The appeals process was originally designed to prevent racial bias in hiring, but none of the appeals reviewed by the Sun-Times alleged discrimination. A retired police commander 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. He said: “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.”