Editor’s Note: The ICMA and Vera Institute of Justice (Vera), gathered information from local government leaders and staff, police chiefs, police union representatives and citizens. The survey targeted communities of varying sizes in different regions of the country to better understand the characteristics sought in the “model” police officer, and to address. The 2018 report, which can be reviewed and downloaded below addresses the current state of police officer recruiting and how to reach candidates, conduct training and engage new police recruits with their communities.
Highest Priority in Police Officer Recruitment is Community Trust
Among the key findings of the survey, the highest-rated priority was building community trust. In fact, all subgroups of respondents (police chiefs, officers, managers, human resources staff and community members) rated this a 9.3 or higher – above the average rating of any other priority. As much as the stereotypical image associated with policing focuses on law enforcement, the community trust aspect is one that is at the top of these key stakeholders’ priorities and should be
acknowledged as such in the structuring of recruitment and training efforts.
Diversity of recruiting methods is also notable – not just in the recruiting of a diverse workforce, but also in reaching people via whatever methods are most effective. Print, broadcast, online, and billboard advertising are all well represented among the key strategies, as are more targeted approaches like specific outreach to women, minorities, veterans and students, or such high-touch approaches as executive leadership’s engagement with recruits.
There are also a wide variety of community engagement strategies in place – some nearly universal, like shop with a cop and school resource officers, and some more unique. In this sample, 90 percent of police chiefs reported maintaining regular neighborhood assignments for their officers for at least six months. As with the priority on building community trust, such assignments and outreach initiatives set the environment within which the recruits operate, as does the training regimen, with most reporting that de-escalation, mental health, crisis intervention, racial profiling and other key topics are covered at least every two years.
ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, advances professional local government worldwide. The organization’s mission is to create excellence in local governance by developing and fostering professional management to build sustainable communities that improve people’s lives. ICMA provides member support, ethics education and enforcement, publications, data and information, peer and results-oriented assistance, and training and professional development to appointed city, town, and county leaders and other individuals and organizations throughout the world.
Review and download the report:
Learn more about community policing: