Issues with recruitment and retention brought about by a plethora of factors are fueling the staffing crisis in law enforcement. With a much smaller applicant pool than ever before and more employees leaving agencies or the profession, law enforcement agencies all over the US are coming up with ways to attract other potential recruits. This webinar unpacks how Nebraska’s Bellevue Police Department was able to go from undermanned to over-capacity in just 18 months.
Leading the discussion are Chief Ken Clary and Lieutenant Howard Banks. Chief Clary has been the Police Chief of the Bellevue Police Department since September 2020, he’s served the Iowa State Patrol for almost three decades prior to this current role. Lt. Banks is likewise from the Bellevue PD where he’s served for the past 18 years and is a newly-promoted lieutenant assigned to the Office of Professional Standards Unit, which oversees recruitment and hiring.
This webinar’s coverage includes:
- A glimpse into the staffing issues that plague the US public sector and Bellevue PD’s staffing problem when Chief Clary was assigned back in 2020.
- The needs assessment conducted in Bellevue PD that revealed how they are in a much more precarious state and served as the impetus to change.
- Culture equals retention: The belief that Chief Clary held as the key to address the staffing issue is through a change in organizational culture.
- The importance of selecting change agents that are trusted by and can influence other employees and are representative of the desired change.
- The qualities of an effective change agent that alludes to adaptability, creativity, trustworthiness, respect, belief in the organization, dedication, and passion.
- The duties and goals of the change agent in terms of determining organizational goals, identifying organizational strengths and weaknesses, and establishing recruiting and hiring goals.
- How culture change must start from the top and the value of setting an equity and inclusion statement that specifies what the organization believes in and reminds employees and the community of what the organization stands for.
- Strategies implemented to change Bellevue PD’s culture by talking about the why, demonstrating transparency, leading by example, and giving voice to employees in hopes of securing their buy-in.
- The need to form a recruitment team to support the leaders and change agents and what the team identified as worthwhile efforts to better target potential applicants and set them up for success.
- The freedom, supplies, access, funding, and other resources as well as commitment needed to be able to effectively recruit and hire ideal candidates.
- The foremost goal of breaking down barriers when it comes to the recruitment strategies to employ.
- The usual strategies to recruit candidates and out-of-the-box approaches that focus on:
- Identifying the proficiencies and qualities required for the roles that must be filled in.
- Finding people with the skills and characteristics by looking out for them in unlikely places.
- Relationship-building and taking a personal approach similar to sports recruiting that sets potential applicants up for success.
- Conducting personal tours to interested individuals to provide them with an idea of what the profession is like and gauge their compatibility with the agency.
- Including the candidates’ families in the process to help them understand the profession and appease their concerns.
- Recommendations to help agencies retain employees that look into:
- How the organization interacts with and talks about other agencies.
- Reviewing for policies that may be disparate toward certain populations and updating these to become more inclusive.
- Ensuring that the expectation being sold to applicants aligns with reality to avoid disappointment and dissatisfaction which translates to employee attrition.
- Starting a mentorship program that pairs up new employees with mentors to help them acclimate to the workplace.
- Taking care of the employees’ needs by seeking their feedback on how to improve the workplace, providing them with better pay and benefits, and showing that you care
- To not micromanage and have an appropriate recognition and discipline process in place.
- Being wary of the people who are put in leadership roles.
- How Bellevue PD accomplished the culture, diversity, and recruitment goals they’ve set at the beginning and their initiative to further inclusivity efforts.
Points raised during the Q&A are about:
- How Bellevue did not subscribe to changing hiring standards to be able to increase the applicant pool.
- Overcoming the optics of “tokenism” by focusing on merit and performance.
- The decrease in law enforcement families brought about concerns on the risks and reputation of the profession.
- How the change agent’s role and a long-term view led to Bellevue’s success in recruiting a diverse workforce.
- The leaders’ responsibility in fixing toxic workplace environments.
Other Webinars with this Speaker
- Oct 13: Creating Positive Change: An Approach to Leadership in Tumultuous Times
- Jan 24, 2023: Creating a Culture of Inclusiveness: Recruiting a Diverse Workforce (this webinar)
- June 15, 2023: Creating a Culture of Inclusion: A Case for 30×30
Resources and Handouts
- Article Referenced: It’s Not Just a Police Problem, Americans Are Opting Out of Government Jobs
- Article Referenced: This Police Chief is Hiring Female Officers to Fix “Toxic” Policing
- “Great Discussion!” — Scott
- “Cultural change must start from the top! If it doesn’t, you must come together collectively to make the top see.” — Sean
- “The point that you can get a lot of work accomplished when you know your supervisor, boss, etc has your back and gives you the needed support and tools to do your job effectively.” — SHARON
- “The importance of building culture top-down; it starts with the CEO/Chief. The importance of having a written strategic recruiting/hiring and retention plan. The idea of creating a recruitment team, so it’s not always the same person/demographic recruiting for your agency and using informal leaders to influence buy-in.” — Sabrina
- “Take care of your employees and they will take care of your organizational needs.” — CINDY
- “The explanation of how they addressed culture change.” — Kaitlyn
- “I liked the quote about everyone you hire shapes your culture. I also liked the idea of bringing the families of potential hires to the PD to make them all feel welcome.” — Kristopher