Chicago has the largest number of women fighting fires and working on ambulances of any city in the country, the city’s fire commissioner said Wednesday, but they make up less than 10% of the department’s total personnel.
In a department that has long dealt with diversity issues, aldermen also pressed Chicago Fire Department officials to better address the under-representation of black and Latino firefighters on the force, an annual complaint when officials come to City Hall for their budget hearing.
Commissioner Richard Ford II called on aldermen to help get more minorities to take tests to get on the force.
“When we do our outreach for recruitment, we really don’t have control over who is coming in to take this test,” Ford said. “What I would like to do is work with the aldermen, work with (Department of Human Resources) to increase that list, and thereby increase the diversity.”