|Office of Community
Oriented Policing Services
U.S. Department of Justice
Recruitment And Hiring: Challenge Or Opportunity For Change?
Ellen Scrivner, Director, John Jay Leadership Academy at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Dr. Scrivner briefed the audience on challenges facing the law enforcement field, the changing nature of the industry, and the new skill sets required to be a successful police officer. She compared and contrasted a recruit of the 1970s and 1980s to that of today and suggested that the industry needs to dramatically change the way they conceptualize recruitment and retention in order to attract the officers of today. Dr. Scrivner finished with a discussion of the COPS-funded Hiring in the Spirit of Service projects including the successes of the projects and lessons learned from their design and implementation.
Competing in a Highly Competitive Job Market.
M. Douglas Scott, Arlington County Virginia Police Chief.
Chief Scott’s briefing covered the staffing numbers and demographics of his department compared to the community demographics. He discussed major recruiting challenges – including a ten percent annual attrition, achieving a diverse workforce, and the existence of a sixty-college credit minimum for recruits. He reviewed the numerous recruitment strategies that have allowed his department to achieve full staffing in 2006, 2007, and 2008, something that had not occurred since 1998.
Why Recruitment in Law Enforcement Isn’t Working!
Alan Deal, Assistant Executive Director, California Commission on Peace Officer Standards & Training.
Mr. Deal’s presentation suggests that while recruitment is a problem for many law enforcement organizations they’ve yet to make it a priority, lack a recruitment strategic plan or planning process, and produce advertising that is out of date (because law enforcement doesn’t have a solid understanding of the market). The briefing also highlights specific ways the recruitment process itself undermines effective recruitment and discusses ways to improve both the recruitment and retention processes.
Police Personnel Challenges After September 11: Anticipating Expanding Duties and a Changing Labor Pool.
Laura Miller, Social Scientist, RAND Corporation.
Dr. Miller’s briefing focused on examining the personnel issues that police departments face, what police departments are doing to address these issues and what police agencies can learn from military experience in recruitment and retention. Dr. Miller suggested that law enforcement can benefit from the military’s analysis of survey and demographic data; the needs assessment methods the military uses to examine personnel supply and demand dynamics; and military efforts to retain personnel through initiatives such as general pay increases and additional pay for special duties, educational benefits for those agencies wish to retain, faster promotion for the most qualified, and lateral movement programs to address staffing problems in specific areas. Dr. Miller also observed that police agencies may learn from other agencies’ innovations and suggested that national leadership is required to deal with police personnel issues. The study discussed at the Summit can be found at http://www.rand.org/pubs/occasional_papers/OP154/index.html.
Recruiting for a Rapidly Growing Community.
James N. Owens, Deputy Chief, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
Deputy Chief Owens reported on his department’s efforts to increase the staffing of the 7th largest police department in the United States by 1200 officers over the next 10 years. Fueled by a sales tax increase for this purpose, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is using the following strategies: (1) robust advertising; (2) strong Internet presence; (3) establishment of recruitment councils for Hispanics, African-Americans, women, Asian Americans, and military personnel; (4) offering bonuses for existing officers who recruit new officers; (5) expansion of out-of-state testing; (6) testing what best predicts the probability of an applicant completing the hiring process; (7) expanding the number of academies offered; and (8) improvement of retention efforts.
New Orleans Experience
Warren J. Riley, Superintendent, New Orleans Police Department.
following the storm, both authorized and actual end officer strength decreased by about one-sixth, or by about 300 officers. Two briefings, one from New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren J. Riley and another from RAND researcher Dr. Jeremy M. Wilson, tell the story of catastrophe and rebuilding in New Orleans. At the request of the New Orleans Police Department, RAND identified practical and low cost initiatives that could be implemented in New Orleans to improve recruitment and retention of police officers. The RAND recommendations focused on five areas: compensation; career management and the promotion process; recruiting; the mix of officers and civilians in the department; and morale. The study discussed at the Summit can be found at http://www.rand.org/ .
Police Recruitment and Retention in New Orleans: Crisis as Catalyst
Jeremy M. Wilson, Associate Director, RAND Center on Quality Policing.
Hurricane Katrina, one of the costliest and deadliest hurricanes to strike the United States, wreaked extraordinary havoc on New Orleans and its institutions. In the year following the storm, both authorized and actual end officer strength decreased by about one-sixth, or by about 300 officers. Two briefings, one from New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren J. Riley and another from RAND researcher Dr. Jeremy M. Wilson, tell the story of catastrophe and rebuilding in New Orleans. At the request of the New Orleans Police Department, RAND identified practical and low cost initiatives that could be implemented in New Orleans to improve recruitment and retention of police officers. The RAND recommendations focused on five areas: compensation; career management and the promotion process; recruiting; the mix of officers and civilians in the department; and morale. The study discussed at the Summit can be found at http://www.rand.org/ .
The Military Way: Marine Corps Recruiting.
Colonel Daniel Choike and Lieutenant Colonel Michael Zeliff.
This briefing focuses on the Marine Corps Recruiting Command’s efforts to find, screen, and enlist qualified individuals into the Marine Corps. The briefing detailed the recruiting cycle, enlistment process, and branding and advertising efforts used to attract individuals to service. Choike and Zeliff suggest that like local law enforcement agencies, the Marine Corps seeks to attract individuals with “dignity” goals of personal achievement and respect for self and others. They also described several measures of effectiveness for the $140 million in advertising the Marine Corps spends to attract recruits, including measures of ad recall and action taken because of the ads.
Five Ways to Improve Police Recruiting Without Raising Taxes.
Nelson Lim, RAND Corporation.
Dr. Lim’s briefing suggests that while the military can offer many lessons in recruitment and retention for local law enforcement agencies it, unlike most police departments, has a large recruiting force and budget. Nevertheless, Dr. Lim reports that there are five ways local law enforcement agencies can improve recruiting without additional resources: (1) put one leader in charge of the entire recruiting process; (2) let everyone know that you are hiring; (3) identify untapped local markets; (4) not all applicants are equally viable—process them according to their viability; and, (5) not all recruiters and background investigators are equally productive—reward high performers.
Maximizing Officer Retention.
Dwayne Orrick, Public Safety Director, City of Cordele.
Retention expenses which include separation costs, recruitment costs, selection costs, new employee costs, and other “soft” costs (such as those departments incur when they forego proactive policing work because of staffing shortages) amount to $100,000 for each officer lost to a department. As a result, the best way to reduce the demand on recruiting resources is for a department to reduce attrition. Orrick cites numerous internal and external reasons for departure including officer’s immediate supervisor, uncompetitive salaries, lack of career growth, unmet job expectations, inadequate feedback, insufficient recognition, or lack of training that officers may seek for career growth. The briefing offers suggestions on what law enforcement agencies can do to retain officers, including conducting “stay” interviews with the best officers, holding supervisors accountable for retention, making salaries competitive, offering flexible compensation, enhancing recognition and career development, offering career assessment and counseling, encouraging varied work experiences, and addressing personal and family issues.
Challenges of Police Recruiting in the District of Columbia.
Cathy Lanier, Chief Metropolitan Police Department, Washington D.C.
The Washington Metropolitan Police Department, with approximately 3,800 officers, ranks among the largest in the nation. It confronts many of the same challenges facing large urban local law enforcement agencies, but its jurisdiction in the nation’s capital requires unique responsibilities requiring personnel with a wide variety of skills and interests. Chief Lanier suggests that the major recruitment and retention challenges facing the department include hiring 1600 officers and 400 civilians in just three years and further reducing officer attrition. Chief Lanier reviewed efforts her department has taken to speed the hiring process. MPD has its own recruitment unit with 35 staff. This staff does its own background checks and medical screening, hires individuals twice a month (instead of once), and takes just three days from test to background check. The Department also hired a professional marketing firm, conducted focus groups with recruits, and reengineered their recruiting website. The website also features a “chief concerns” section which encourages officers to anonymously suggest ways to make their job easier and improve the department.
Strategic Recruiting in the New York City Police Department
Rafael Pineiro, Chief of Personnel, New York City Police Department.
Chief Pineiro’s briefing demonstrates how a large urban department tackles the continuous issue of recruitment and retention of personnel. The New York City Police Department (NYPD) has more than 35,000 officers and between 2002 and 2008 hired more than 18,000 officers. The department is seeking to “sell and brand the NYPD’s image” as a “premier employer of choice” as well as appeal to changing generational preferences. Chief Pineiro explained how a low-starting pay for officers (which has since been increased) posed particular challenges to department recruiting. The department emphasizes pay growth, benefits, and chances to advance, including opportunities to gain advanced degrees to attract and retain officers. Methods of attracting recruits are discussed; critical among them is the department’s recruiting website and the URL (nypdrecruit.com) appears in all recruiting ads. The department’s efforts to collect data to measure the effectiveness of its recruiting program are also reviewed.
Planning in Large Personnel Systems: From the Military to Police Departments.
Bernard Rostker, Senior Fellow, The RAND Corporation.
Dr. Rostker asserts that many of the recruitment and retention issues that local law enforcement agencies face are similar to those that the military faces. Both are market-driven, hierarchical rank systems in which recruits typically enter at the bottom and are promoted through the ranks. Similarly, both offer promotions on a competitive basis, peg pay to time of and grade in service, and offer early retirement options. The police and the military also have similar life-cycle events in careers for their personnel and require data-driven personnel systems. Research that helped the military address many of the issues it shares with police agencies might be adapted for law enforcement use. This includes research on how to build a high-quality force and its effects, increasing pay to improve retention, and appealing to new age groups.