EAST CHICAGO | In order to encourage the hiring of East Chicago residents to the Police Department, the City Council has approved an ordinance that will give residents a credit of 15 percent on the oral interview portion of the hiring process.
Applicants must first pass a written test before moving on to the oral portion.
The ordinance passed by a 7-0 vote. Councilman Adrian Santos, D-1st, and Councilwoman Benita White Arnold, D-at large, were not present for the vote.
The ordinance was sponsored by Councilman Juda Parks, D-at large, who also is an East Chicago police officer.
Parks said the ordinance is similar to one approved for the East Chicago Fire Department in April, except that the ordinance approved Tuesday also provides a 15 percent credit for East Chicago residents during the promotion process.
"I think it just gives East Chicago officers more of an incentive to stay here," Parks said.
Less than half of East Chicago police officers reside in the city, Parks said.
"I think when you're born and raised in East Chicago and you have your heart in East Chicago you tend to do a better job," Parks said.
"Not saying that the officers that live outside the city don't do a good job, but I think it's important for them to have residents in supervisory positions because they're here and know exactly what's going on at all times."
Councilwoman Gilda Orange, D-6th, said the rule is that residents have to live in the city for at least one year before they can qualify for the break in the hiring process.
She said she thinks giving preference to city residents is a positive step.
"I think it's a good thing because of the fact that if I hear the gunshots, I want everyone basically to hear them," Orange said. "Sometimes you are moved to do more because you are here."
In other city news, the council voted to name the block of Wegg Avenue between 149th and 150th Streets "Dr. Samuel Joaquin Flores Drive."
Flores is the longtime president of the Light of the World Church, 4920 Wegg Ave.
The resolution approving the honorary street said Flores has provided years of dedicated service to the physical and spiritual well-being of many people and has stressed providing help in education, health and natural disasters.