Paul Vallas’ comprehensive Public Safety Plan includes a strategy for helping build the relationship between the CPD and the Community by creating a mechanism for ensuring that the next generation of Police Officers come from the very communities they serve.
The plan is very simple – enable the existing CPS High School Military Academies and ROTC Programs to create a pipeline for not only future Police Officers but also Firefighters and other First Responders.
“There are over 9,100 students in high school Military Academies and ROTC Programs with 90% of the students either African American or Hispanic. The military schools and the school-based programs are among the most popular in the District with the military high schools ranking among the top high schools that do not have select enrollment. Phoenix Military Academy has recently been ranked eighth in Illinois High Schools,” Vallas said.
JROTC cadets in the 45 high school and military academies who are interested in careers would be required to take the two Chicago Police and Fire Training Academy (CPFTA) electives as part of their high school education and to have access to other First Responder electives and summer internships. CPFTA Training was established as an after-school program for high school students by Vallas and the Police Superintedent Terry Hilliard and Fire Commissioner Ray Orozco.
The plan could also include the establishment of a First Responder Academy High School that would have a designed curriculum and after school activities to prepare graduates for specific First Responder Careers. Such a unique school, chosen by the community, could be located in a high school with declining enrollment in need of reinvention.
Vallas opened some of the first Public High School Military Academy at the rebuilt and expanded historic Bronzeville Armory in 1999. Since that time he has opened nine high school military academies in four different states, including five in Chicago.
“The High School Military Academies and the enhanced ROTC programs offer an extraordinary opportunity to recruit and help train the next generation of not only Policeman and Firefighters but other First Responders like, EMT’s, Nurses, Drone Operators, etc.,” Vallas said. “There is no better way to strengthen the relationship between the police and the community than by ensuring that more of our future officers come from the very communities they live.”
The Vallas Public Safety Plan, which he presented in May, has also called for an increase in police officers, sergeants and training officers, a restoration of the Five Areas from the current three and expanded redundant training. Vallas has also called for the building of a modern Public Safety Academy and the creation of a Police Command and Staff School to provide the Academy with leadership and to help train the next generation of leaders.