City of Champaign Proposes to Share Exam Costs

The City of Champaign proposes a fee of $25.00 for participants in the annual entry-level Police Officer employment exam, to assist with testing costs. Across the nation, the standard employment eligibility process for police officers includes passing a written exam which measures job related skills. Champaign’s police officer candidates first submit an employment application, and then automatically proceed to take the written exam. Under the new proposal, candidates will pay $25 to take the exam, to assist with a portion of the City’s expense of administering the required test. A fee waiver will be available for individuals with limited income who otherwise could not afford to participate in the test.

The City remains focused on recruiting a diverse pool of qualified candidates to serve as police officers. The proposed fee is expected to offset only about 50% of the exam’s actual costs. While historically Champaign has not charged a fee, other Illinois law enforcement agencies require fees of up to $50 per applicant. “With budget cuts and decreases in funding impacting every aspect of City operations, it is fiscally responsible to re-evaluate the application process,” said Human Resources Director Chris Bezruki.

Bezruki continued, “Although the exam fee will primarily offset the costs of testing, we also hope it will ensure that applicants are serious about pursuing careers as Police Officers.” Less than half of the 500-600 people submitting entry-level Police Officer applications each year actually take the written exam, and other municipalities have found that applicants are more likely to follow through with testing when they pay a small fee. Instituting this fee will minimize the expenses associated with reviewing applications and preparing examinations for applicants who ultimately don’t show up to take the test.

City Council will consider this proposal at the August 3, 2010 Council Meeting.