More than 200 apply to become Joliet cops
By Bob Okon email@example.com September 18, 2012 8:58PM
File photo | Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 20, 2012 6:27AM
JOLIET — More than 200 police officers from other departments want to work in Joliet.
Police Chief Mike Trafton told city council members Tuesday that the city received 253 applications and will start testing Friday.
Joliet is taking applications only from officers already certified by the state, which means they’re likely already working in other departments.
Trafton said 19 of the applicants have been found to be ineligible. But that means 234 qualify to take the tests that start Friday and continue next week. The city expects to have a list of potential police hires ready in October.
Joliet is looking to plug a portion of the 60 vacancies created during lean budget years. Many of those vacancies came when officers took advantage of an early retirement incentive designed to lower payroll costs.
Just how many of those openings get filled is up in the air, although no one has suggested it would be close to 60.
“We’re looking at hiring some officers back,” Councilman John Gerl, chairman of the public safety committee, said at Tuesday’s council meeting. “I don’t think an exact number has been determined. That is going to be part of the budget process.”
The city is under pressure from community groups to hire enough officers to put the Neighborhood Oriented Police Team back in operation. The popular program was suspended in August so that the city would have enough police to patrol the streets. Residents packed a council meeting that month to insist the program be put back in place as soon as possible.
Even then, however, city officials talked about pushing toward a double-digit number of hires, meaning maybe 10 or more.
City Manager Thomas Thanas has said he expects to recommend a number of police hires in October, when the council begins to review the 2013 budget.
In other business:
The council gave final approval to a program that would make Joliet part of the Will Electric Aggregation Group that will provide discounted electric supply rates. Residents and small businesses can sign up for the program sometime in mid-October when they receive official notice through the mail on a letter with the official Joliet letterhead.
Thanas announced that Gov. Pat Quinn will be in town Friday to join a groundbreaking ceremony for the $42 million transportation center funded with $32 million in state money. The groundbreaking will be for a parking lot, which is the first phase of the project.