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Today's Police and Sheriff Recruits

Today's Police and Sheriff Recruits: Insights from the Newest Members of America's Law Enforcement Community

Laura Werber Castaneda
Greg Ridgeway
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 142
  • Book Info
    Today's Police and Sheriff Recruits
    Book Description:

    For much of the past decade, police and sheriff's departments faced considerable challenges in attracting and retaining recruits. This volume summarizes a 2008-2009 survey fielded to recent police officer and sheriff's deputy recruits nationwide. The authors focus on how understanding modern recruits can help departments refine their recruitment practices and develop a workforce well suited to community-oriented policing.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-5051-9
    Subjects: Political Science, Management & Organizational Behavior, Law

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-vi)
    Greg Ridgeway
  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. 1-14)

    In 2007, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) in the U.S. Department of Justice asked RAND’s Center on Quality Policing to, among other activities, conduct a survey of recent police officer and sheriff’s deputy recruits nationwide in order to help the law enforcement community improve its recruitment practices and results.

    While other research has surveyed departments about their recruiting practices (e.g. Taylor et al., 2005), recent efforts have not targeted new recruits. Further, although why certain people choose law enforcement careers has been of interest for decades, to our knowledge there has never been a national survey of...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Perceived Pros and Cons of Law Enforcement Careers
    (pp. 15-40)

    In this chapter, we summarize police officer and sheriff’s deputy recruits’ reasons for pursuing a career in law enforcement. We also discuss what they and their peers viewed as potential downsides of a law enforcement career when they were making their career decision. Understanding these views is important to law enforcement recruiting, because appealing to these motivations for entering law enforcement and addressing perceived disadvantages are two general strategies that law enforcement recruiting personnel can employ to attract new recruits more effectively.

    We asked new recruits why they wanted to become law enforcement officers. Specifically, we provided them with a...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Who and What Influences Recruits’ Career Decisions?
    (pp. 41-52)

    In Chapter Two, we described recruits’ primary reasons for pursuing a career in law enforcement and what they viewed as potential deterrents to entering this career field—two sets of perceptions that likely influence an individual’s career decision. In this chapter, we turn our attention to factors that exert more of an overt influence on one’s career choice: recruits’ family and friends and characteristics of the agency with which they ultimately accepted employment. Just as understanding recruits’ motives for entering law enforcement and what they perceive as its downsides can inform recruiting strategies, so too may a heightened awareness of the...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Recruiting Strategies
    (pp. 53-64)

    This chapter focuses directly on law enforcement agencies’ recruitment practices—both the effectiveness of strategies in use at the time of our survey and recruits’ views of the potential effectiveness of different actions and incentives. While a number of studies have examined recruitment strategies from the perspective of the recruiter or the agency (e.g., Taylor et al., 2005; California Commission on POST, 2006; Whetstone, Reed, and Turner, 2006; Wilson and Grammich, 2009), few have approached the issue from the eyes of the prospective candidate or current recruit.

    To start, Figure 4.1 shows what first prompted recruits to contact the agency...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Conclusions and Recommendations
    (pp. 65-74)

    Recruiting new police officers and sheriff’s deputies at the start of the 21st century was a challenging and expensive operation. Even with large investments in recruiting, departments struggled to fill their ranks to meet the demand for police services and to replace separating officers. Although the recession that began in December 2007 greatly increased the labor supply and reduced cities’ appetites for hiring, trends indicate that this is a lull in what will likely be a long-term challenge to hire and retain quality law enforcement personnel.

    This study surveyed the newest generation of law enforcement recruits, those hired and entering...

  14. APPENDIX A Survey Instrument
    (pp. 75-98)
  15. APPENDIX B Description of Survey Responses
    (pp. 99-114)
  16. References
    (pp. 115-118)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 119-119)