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Chicago Police look to recruit US Marines to combat officer shortage

by Patricia R. Mills

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The Chicago Police Department is pushing to hire newly separated U.S. Marines to overcome an officer shortage of over 1,000.

Chicago Police look to recruit US Marines to combat officer shortage

“The reality is that we need to fill the gaps quickly,” Chicago police Deputy Chief Migdalia Bulnes said, according to CBS.

The department said they recently hired 50 new officers, leaving them about 1,300 short of what they need. That reality brought Bulnes and six other officers, all Marine veterans, to Camp Pendleton, Calif., to recruit Marines on their way out of the service into the Chicago Police Department.

Filling the void will not be easy for the city’s police, with other police departments around the country also facing a shortage of officers following a wave of resignations and retiring officers in the wake of the protests over George Floyd’s death in 2020. According to a survey of 172 police departments across the country from the Police Executive Research Forum, resignations are up 40% since 2019, while retirements are up 25%


Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
(Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune)

“These negative changes almost certainly were caused largely by the extreme stresses that the COVID-19 pandemic brought to policing in 2020 and 2021 and by the thousands of protests and demonstrations following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, which in many cases involved acts of violence and hostility toward police officers,” read the conclusion of the survey.

But some wonder if turning to Marine veterans, a group of highly trained and fit individuals, is the proper solution to the shortage.

“The first thing is: are we making the law enforcement process too militant?” Bulnes asks. “And no, we’re not. They are individuals, just like us, just like you. The process will weed out those that have issues.”

The Chicago Police Department has now streamlined the process for Marines to join the department when they separate from service, giving immediate drug screens and background checks to 19 Marines who applied with force at Camp Pendleton. The process used to take several months to complete but has been condensed to three weeks for the soon-to-be civilian Marines.


“I just want to bring the crime rate down and serve a great community,” said Cpl. Jeremiah Harrington, one of the Marines to apply, expressed his interest in serving for the department.

The office of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Police Department did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment on the push to hire Marines.

Michael Lee is a writer at Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @UAMichaelLee.

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