Military Service and Law Enforcement Recruitment

Military Service and Law Enforcement Recruitment
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Resources
Recorded on: 2020-02-27
Unit 1 Slide Deck: Military Service and Law Enforcement Recruitment
Unit 2 Workbook: Military Service and Law Enforcement Recruitment
Unit 3 Recording: Military Service and Law Enforcement Recruitment

Law enforcement is a field that is considered heroic. So is military service. So it kind of makes sense that the skills and expertise of military veterans be leveraged for the community. But does it? This webinar will unpack the reality of recruiting for law enforcement positions and hiring military veterans.

Dr. Chase Wetherington is an academic and a detective with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Tampa, Florida. He’s served in law enforcement in various roles investigating numerous cases, attending and conducting trainings. As an academic, he’s researched on topics relating to characteristics of law enforcement officers and is the founder of Wetherington Consulting which specializes in quantitative research.

Some of the topics discussed on this session are:

  • What is a military veteran and their representation in the general population as well as the law enforcement field.
  • Manpower and recruitment issues that law enforcement agencies face as seen in local, state and national levels.
  • The financial aspect of the recruitment issue – how this impacts work productivity, employee retention, and community safety.
  • Methods law enforcement agencies are employing to engage potential recruits – presence in university job fairs, community events, military bases, as well as online and offline marketing strategies.
  • The characteristics of military veterans and active service members that prove to be beneficial to law enforcement agencies.
    • Maturity and life experience in contrast to those with academic background.
    • Skills and abilities developed in the military in terms of training, physical conditioning, tactical knowledge, and critical incident management.
    • Attitudes honed in military service when it comes to authority, uniformity and policy adherence.
  • Possible drawbacks of having military veterans/active service members in law enforcement:
    • The difference on the means to achieve specific goals that may manifest as decreased empathy to citizens and likelihood to use deadly force.
    • The potential to trigger stress and discomfort as seen in PTSD and other mental/psychological conditions.
    • Other outcomes as a result of their mental/psychological issues like substance abuse.
  • Various studies were cited to demonstrate:
    • Military veterans’ likelihood to use force and fire their service firearm.
    • The prevalence of PTSD and substance abuse.
    • The lack of correlation or impact between disciplinary issues and military background.
    • Susceptibility to stress of those with military background being no different to those without.

Questions for Dr. Wetherington were about:

  • The course on recruiting college students.
  • How the organizational culture environment contributes to the appeal of law enforcement to veterans.
  • Strengths and competencies of those with military background that is beneficial in law enforcement.
  • The differences in expectations in terms of promotions and career growth for college graduates and those from a military background.
  • Granting additional points for military applicants in the testing process.
  • The scope of what is considered as a disciplinary issue for the study conducted.


Audience Comments

  • “Overall, a good picture of the operational environment, with some good specific information as well.” — Bernard
  • “Excellent presentation. Very applicable to the current situation in my agency. Thank you.” — Clement
  • “All the information provided was useful.” — Denise
  • “The statistics are scary. Far fewer applicants and even fewer with the right demeanor to be good officers.” — Diali
  • “With the information I heard, it sounds like our agency is right on target, and up to speed with Military targeted recruiting. He did not just focus on the “positive” aspects, but hearing some of the “negative” as well, was a good reminder of some things to be aware of. Being more mindful of “transitional” issued into the job.” — Suzanna



Additional Resources
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