Recruiting and Retention of Police: Strategies for Small and Medium Sized Agencies

Recruiting and Retention of Police: Strategies for Small and Medium Sized Agencies
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2020-05-13
Unit 1 Slide Deck: Recruiting and Retention of Police
Unit 2 Transcript: Recruiting and Retention of Police
Unit 3 Workbook: Recruiting and Retention of Police
Unit 4 Recording: Recruiting and Retention of Police

Recruitment and retention in the law enforcement field has been challenging in the past couple of years. With less applicants and more retiring or eligible to retire, agencies became more competitive when it comes to attracting new candidates and enticing employees to stay. For some organizations, this may mean coming up with out of the box recruitment and retention programs and strategies. For the Anderson Police Department, it was about drawing on their years of experience, strengthening the organization, and innovating where needed.

In this session, Anderson PD leaders will talk about their approach to recruitment and retention. Chief James Stewart has 30 years’ worth of experience working his way through the ranks in the law enforcement arena. Deputy Chief Nikki Carson has more than two decades in policing serving in various roles. Meanwhile, Dr. Shelagh Dorn is the President of the International Association of Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analysts (IALEIA) and teaches at Michigan State University and Clemson University, who worked side-by-side with the Anderson PD to analyze agency data for crime and intelligence capabilities.

Specifics they discussed include:

  • Researches conducted that examined the standards and tests agencies use during recruitment, the impact of insufficient staffing, and the employees’ reasons for leaving.
  • A glimpse of Anderson PD’s jurisdiction, operations, and leadership.
    • The agency’s training and recruitment source.
    • Their challenges with retention, typical reasons for officer turnover, and how they address it through communication.
    • The competitiveness of the law enforcement profession.
    • Getting to know the agency’s leaders and their mission.
    • The different programs and resources of the agency to ensure community safety, and curb criminality.
    • A look into their crime and detention statistics.
    • The different units and career opportunities officers may take within Anderson PD that likewise addresses retention.
  • Anderson PD’s recruitment strategy
    • Utilizing their staff as the best recruitment advertisement.
    • A thorough approach to recruitment that prioritizes quality over quantity.
    • The agency’s diverse workforce which attracts diverse candidates as well.
    • Understanding the barriers that keep potential candidates from applying.
    • The recruitment video that they use to manage potential candidates’ expectations on what the job actually entails.
    • Community outreach and social media efforts that engage the community in the work of the agency.
    • Streamlining and hastening the application process, taking advantage of internal referrals, and providing immediate feedback to keep applicants engaged.
    • Civilianizing roles that do not require sworn training to get a bigger pool of potential candidates.
  • Anderson PD’s retention approach through an organizational culture that communicates genuine interest in employee well-being.
  • Challenges that Anderson PD encounter when it comes to retention as:
    • Private companies provide better compensation packages.
    • Employees use the department as a training ground for better opportunities with other agencies.

Questions from the audience were about:

  • How COVID-19 affected agency operations and hiring processes.
  • Ensuring the agency’s employee diversity.
  • Maximizing local schools and universities as recruitment sources for the agency.


Other Webinars in this Series Include:


Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  •  “Excellent topic in today’s law enforcement, there is such a difference in applicants from 20 years ago!” — Tracy
  • “The information on how to involve civilians and students was great.”  — Judy
  • “This tiny department is experiencing the same recruiting/retention issues as our mid-size department. Thank you for hosting this!” — Danna



Additional Resources
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