Recruiting and Retaining America's Finest

Recruiting and Retaining America's Finest: Evidence-Based Lessons for Police Workforce Planning

Jeremy M. Wilson
Bernard D. Rostker
Cha-Chi Fan
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 138
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/mg960nij
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  • Book Info
    Recruiting and Retaining America's Finest
    Book Description:

    Shares results of a survey, sent to every U.S. police agency with at least 300 sworn officers, on recruitment and retention practices. Finds that police compensation, city size, and crime rates affected recruiting. Advertising and incentives had little effect on the number of recruits. Cohort sizes highlighted management challenges. To facilitate comparative and longitudinal staffing analyses, ongoing national data collection is recommended.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-5114-1
    Subjects: Political Science, Management & Organizational Behavior, Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-vi)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xiii-xx)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    A critical but oft neglected function of police organizations is management of the sworn officer force. While there is much attention to recruiting and retention, these are just tools for moving and maintaining career profiles that meet the needs and aspirations of officers and provide the rank/experience profiles desired by police departments. Police decisionmakers have little ability to assess their organization and environment to develop their own evidence-based personnel planning lessons. Likewise, they receive little empirical guidance on how best to build and maintain their workforce.

    Recent economic difficulties have catapulted the issue of police staffing into the forefront of...

  10. CHAPTER TWO The Personnel Situation
    (pp. 13-40)

    In this chapter, we explore the characteristics and experiences of large police agencies in workforce planning and management. We summarize descriptive information for 2006 and 2007 as provided by the agencies responding to our survey. Each table provides the number of agencies on which the information is based. For many key variables and where nonresponse bias would most likely exist (variables with fewer respondents) we tested (by comparison of means tests) for systematic differences between those that responded and those in the target population. We examined differences in terms of several organizational and community characteristics: agency size, city size, region,...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Factors Affecting the Supply of Police Recruits
    (pp. 41-58)

    Each year, police departments throughout the United States recruit new personnel. While it is common for departments to share information with others about their programs in an effort to discern “best practices,” there is little systematic analysis of characteristics of successful recruiting programs. Departments seldom collect data or implement programs in a way that rigorously controls for changes over time. Similarly, cross-department comparisons are usually descriptive and seldom use statistical techniques to control for differences in departments; that is, departments rarely conduct rigorous cross-sectional analysis.

    Police recruitment practices have evolved over time. The first moves toward professionalization occurred with the...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Career Management
    (pp. 59-66)

    While a great deal of attention has been paid to recruiting new police officers, recruiting is just one facet of managing police personnel. How officers progress through their careers is important both to themselves and to the departments they serve. Progression determines the jobs officers can do and the compensation for them. If they progress too quickly, they may not have the experiences they need to do the jobs they are promoted to do. If they progress too slowly, officers may become frustrated and may leave for other departments. Job satisfaction is often related to meeting an officer’s expectation of...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Evidence-Based Lessons for Personnel Planning
    (pp. 67-74)

    Police agencies may face many constraints in what they can do to recruit, retain, and manage personnel. For example, while our analysis, not surprisingly, found compensation to be among the strongest predictors of a department’s ability to attract personnel, agencies do not control monies available for salaries. It is also important to note that the candidates attracted by higher compensation might not be the most qualified or have the attributes (e.g., service orientation or communication skills) most desired by agency leaders.

    Police agencies undertake many initiatives to recruit, retain, and manage their personnel. Many have recruiting budgets and full-time recruiting...

  14. APPENDIX A Police Recruitment and Retention Survey Procedures
    (pp. 75-80)
  15. APPENDIX B Survey Instrument
    (pp. 81-104)
  16. References
    (pp. 105-114)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 115-115)