Millennials and Generation Z in Law Enforcement: The strengths, limitations and unique characteristics of the “Me” generations.

Millennials and Generation Z in Law Enforcement: The strengths, limitations and unique characteristics of the “Me” generations.
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2021-06-03
Unit 1Slide Deck: Millennials and Generation Z
Unit 2Transcript: Millennials and Generation Z
Unit 3Workbook: Millennials and Generation Z
Unit 4Recording: Millennials and Generation Z

The law enforcement field is facing systemic challenges brought about by a mass exodus of law enforcement officers hired in the 90s that are retiring simultaneously and the difficulty of recruiting to a field that’s been hounded with public scrutiny. It only makes sense that law enforcement agencies re-align strategies to attract the largest chunk of the US labor force today – Millennials, and the newly-emerging Generation Z.

Dr. Grant McDougall shares his research on how despite often negative misconceptions, these generations may be the solution to reinvigorate the tarnished law enforcement profession. Grant is a licensed mental health counselor, a national board-certified counselor, and a current board member of the National Sheriffs Association Psychological Section. He provides in-service training, pre-employment screenings, critical incident debriefings, fitness for duty evaluations, and private counseling services for law enforcement agencies.

This webinar’s discussion revolved around:

  • How complaints about the younger generation is nothing novel and has been going for centuries.
  • A rundown of the generations dating back to the late 1800s and defining generations based on its characteristics shaped by upbringing, and the events and trends that occurred within points in time.
  • How Millennials currently make up a huge chunk of the labor force making working with them inevitable.
  • A glimpse into the current generational composition of law enforcement.
  • The difference of law enforcement from other professions based on its unique experience and how this shapes its workforce’s worldview more than the generation they belong to.
  • A look into Generation X: The events and conditions that created independent, resourceful, self-sufficient and cynical individuals out of them.
  • Gen Z and Gen Y: The distinct characteristics of these two generations which are often clustered together focusing on defining moments for each, their upbringing, and motivation.
  • Juxtaposing Gen X and Millennials’ views on the root of entitlement.
  • Millennials’ tendency to put off life choices as demonstrated in statistics comparing the attainment of significant life markers for 30-year-olds in 1960 and in 2010.
  • The flak and generalization Millennials receive and the reality that Millennials tend to pave different paths.
  • Characteristics that make Millennials amazing assets due to their optimism, intrinsic motivation, creativity, flexibility, willingness to learn and collaborate, and emotional intelligence.
  • How Millennials are cost-effective as employees with their willingness to take salary cuts as long as they have the flexibility to pursue other interests and have work-life balance.
  • Understanding the top factors that drive Millennial’s satisfaction or dissatisfaction in the workplace which ultimately impacts job longevity.
    • The importance of growth opportunities, diversity in the work, recognition of their input and work, and the ability to serve the community.
    • Millennials’ preference for novelty, collaboration, and access to the best technology and equipment.
    • How negative workplace culture, inconsistent or poor supervision, and lack of opportunities discourage Millennials.
  • Strategies to work effectively with Millennials
    • Demonstrating objectivity and stepping outside one’s comfort zone.
    • Allowing the ability to grow, advance, and diversify.
    • Presenting opportunities to collaborate, providing inclusivity, and acknowledging their efforts.
    • Leveraging their emotional intelligence skills and empathy.
    • Fostering open communication, supplying them with the why, and engaging in feedback.

Topics raised during the Q&A were about:

  • The difference between Generation Z and Millennials.
  • Etymology and naming conventions for the generations.
  • Communication gaps that may occur across generations.
  • The value in understanding generational differences to address the recruitment and retention issues in law enforcement.
  • How economic conditions and societal forces contribute to Millennials and Generation Z’s tendency to delay life choices.


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Resources and Handouts



Audience Comments

  • “Such a great topic, and discussion. It’s important to understand that the generations are different but we can still learn from each other.” — ANGELA
  • “Excellent presenter! Very timely with our hiring process. Thank you for your expertise and insight! Do not hesitate to offer this presentation again! Thank you!” — Roseann
  • “Coming from a Gen X perspective and being in a leadership and supervisor position within my agency, its always good to receive information to aid in the supervision of personnel, the Agency, and myself in better understanding and managing the different personalities and generations of personnel in the LE career field.” — Bobby
  • “Definitely, the mindset and characteristics of the millennial generation. Wow! But us older (Baby Boomer me) need to get on board “this train” as it will certainly pass us by. Really good presentation. Thank you.” — Brice
  • “It’s appreciated how others see that our generation created them and now we are needing to work with them. I’ve said it for years that it will come back around. It’s nice to have someone speak the truth to the group. thanks for your time.”– Calandra
  • “This really applies to being a probation officer and helps me understand the different attitudes. I would love another webinar on this subject. Thank you!” — Cathy
  • “Did a great job covering the generations, giving excellent feedback from each perspective. Very well done.” — Corinne
  • “Best presentation I have heard on this topic. Relevant information with suggestions on how to relate, motivate and communicate for success with Millennials. Also caused me to reflect upon some of my biases and hopefully approach these relationships with a more open mind. Thank you!” — Deneen
  • “This was a phenomenal webinar. It emphasized the strengths that millennials bring to the workplace and did not focus on the differences. I think all organization leadership could benefit significantly from viewing the webinar as it provides real-life solutions and ideas for motivating and maintaining millennials in the workplace.”– Heather
  • “I thought this was a fantastic webinar and really provided an insight into the different generations in law enforcement. It really was an interesting topic and I really liked how the presenter broke it all down and explained this in a way one can relate to. The webinar organizer was also great, she has a great personality. Looking forward to more webinars.” — Ida
  • “Very professional, I like the way you manage them from start to finish.” — John
  • I can better understand why the different age groups are classified the way they are. Very interesting and being a Court Manager I feel we have a really good mix of employees and us old-timers love that the young ones are tech savvy, they really help us out. We treat them like they are our kids. And they love it. — Lisa



** This webinar has been certified by the National Sheriffs' Association and may be eligible for Continuing Education Units through your POST. Please consult your local certification processes for additional details. Paid subscribers that attend will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Sheriffs' Association logo.
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