The Office of Inspector General has issued an advisory with recommendations to the Chicago Police Department (CPD) for improvements to ensure the integrity of its promotional testing processes. The advisory arises from an extensive investigation into allegations that certain CPD members received confidential exam materials pertaining to the 2015 lieutenant promotional exam. OIG did not find sufficient evidence to sustain allegations against any CPD member but identified several control issues with CPD’s process for investigating allegations and for administering exams.
Historically-based perceptions of preferential treatment in CPD promotional processes could be mitigated by instituting more rigorous controls in the promotional examination process. OIG recommends that the final questions to appear on an exam be sealed and maintained by third-party professional test administrators to completely eliminate CPD access to the final exam prior to test administration. OIG further recommends that CPD-designated Subject Matter Experts involved in the development of promotional exams disclose relationships with test-takers that go beyond professional, including personal and non-CPD organizational relationships. Finally, OIG highlights, as a matter of significant concern, the fact that CPD, specifically the Bureau of Internal Affairs (BIA), failed to forward the original complaint in a timely fashion to OIG, which has primary ordinance and court-prescribed (Shakman) jurisdiction over and responsibility for investigating allegations of misconduct affecting hiring, promotion, assignment and detail processes and actions. Inspector General Joe Ferguson noted, “The 13 month delay before OIG received any complaints related to the exam hindered timely inquiry and may have contributed to the widespread failed recollections OIG investigators encountered in the course of the investigation.” OIG accordingly noted that BIA should have forwarded the original complaint to OIG immediately pursuant to the City of Chicago Police Department Hiring Plan for Sworn Titles and recommended CPD take action to ensure timely transmittal of such allegations in the future.
CPD acknowledges limitations in their promotional examination process and the concerns OIG raised, and are committed to implementing improvements. OIG looks forward to receiving their proposals in the next 30 days and working with them to create a fair and transparent process.
The full advisory can be found online.
Follow OIG on Twitter @ChicagoOIG for the latest information on how OIG continues to fight waste, fraud, abuse, and inefficiency in Chicago government.