Sustaining the Force: Issues in Recruiting

The power of the police force to attract fresh entrants depends not only upon the advantages that are intrinsic to the job of a police officer, but also the marketing skills of the police force.  Indeed, new jobs are included among the goods and services to be marketed in our world.  Hence, the police force must be diligently reaching out to potential entrants by using all possible communication modes, e.g. newspapers, Internet and job fairs.  Market segmentation is also a fact of police recruitment.

  In order to target women and minorities, the so-called ‘disadvantaged groups’ of society, the police force must be attracting new entrants with the kinds of advantages that are expected by the market segment in question (Milgram, 2002).  These special advantages offered unto special groups could be higher salaries or greater benefits.  Regardless of the form that these advantages take, however, the fact remains that police recruitment is best conducted in these times of organizational behavioral practices with special references to job satisfaction, education, and more.

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In the following sections of this paper, the four salient issues of police recruiting are discussed: salary, benefits, education, and job satisfaction.  These four features of the police officer’s job determine whether he or she would continue helping to sustain the force.  An evaluation of these features also assists the potential entrants to decide whether they would ultimately accept the offer for a job with the police.

  The various ways of reaching out to potential entrants into the police force are also identified.  Lastly, this paper would highlight the issues at hand for the recruitment of women and minorities.  The entire discussion would lead us to answer the vital question: What can be done to sustain the police force in the best possible ways?Issues in RecruitingSalaryThe most often discussed issue in recruiting is undoubtedly that of high or low salaries.  It is but natural to pay people according to their potential and the risks involved in their work.  The high risk job of a police officer must be matched by his or her salary.  Police officers are essential to the well being of the community.

  In order to show their appreciation for the service of the police, communities are advised to pay a competitive salary to each person that represents the police force and thereby sustains it (Orrick, 2005).  Although policing, or guarding the well being of people, is expected to be a very satisfying job in and of itself; the fact is that people work throughout their adult life for money – to sustain their own families.  Hence, a police department that offers more money to its force is more likely to attract new entrants that would meet its policing needs in future.  This is the reason why potential police officers rushed to take the entrance exam for the Suffolk County Police Department, which pays a salary that is “more than double that of the nearby NYPD.”  Although all examinees had to pay $100 as entrance fee to the examination; for them it was a small price to pay for a financially secure future (Eltman, 2007).BenefitsThe value of policing to the community at large cannot be measured by monetary figures.

  All the same, the benefits that police departments offer to their officers should be complements to the basic salary that is on offer.  Benefits may include salaries “with cost of living adjustments, longevity, and advanced certifications” and “career development programs” to help the police officers grow in their profession (Orrick).  Or, the benefits may include holiday entitlements, reduced premiums on various insurances, and “free travel on public transport” (“Benefits,” 2007).  Police departments must take into account the costs of the self same benefits on offer to the police officers, however.  Research has shown that benefits provided unto employees could sometimes turn into major costs for the employers.  Woska (2006) provides an example: Many police departments now find it nearly impossible to fill all police officer positions.In California, for example, police officers can retire at age 50.

  Peace officers often receive aretirement benefit of 3 percent for each year of employment.  Thus, an individual beginningemployment as a police officer at age 21 would have a retirement benefit of 87 percent (29years multiplied by 3) at age 50.  As a result, California police departments have high turnoveras increasing numbers of peace officers elect early retirement and an opportunity to return toschool, play golf, travel, or begin new careers.Also according to research, “more than 80 percent of the nation’s 17,000 law enforcement agencies, large and small, have police officer positions that they cannot fill.”  California is facing the same crisis.  Therefore, the costs that must be borne by police departments for the benefits on offer to police officers must be balanced.

  Even though it is essential to make policing an attractive job for potential entrants, it is imperative also to consider the short- and long-term costs of the benefits on offer.;EducationThere is no doubt about the special advantages entailed by a well educated police force.  Even so, the U.S. does not demand all of its police departments to recruit officers with educational qualifications that are at least equivalent to a bachelor’s degree.

  In point of fact, research has revealed that there are fewer people interested in joining the police force today because more people are choosing to pursue higher degrees instead (Woska).  What is more, police departments that expect new entrants to be college graduates as a bare minimum are expected to meet with success in their recruiting efforts.  Raising the academic requirements for police officers is expected to go well for the community after all.  Such is the example of the “Arlington, Texas, Police Department (APD), serving a city with a population of around 360,000,” which “has proven by its recruiting success that departments can-and should-require their police officers to have degrees” (“The Chief’s,” 2006).Job SatisfactionWhile most people assume that the police officer’s job is highly stressful, and therefore, quite obnoxious; research has revealed a viewpoint that is quite the contrary: police officers are actually very satisfied people, seeing that they are performing a crucial task for their communities.  In this sense, police officers are somewhat akin to social workers who believe in the contributions they make to society’s welfare.  Besides, the challenging jobs of police officers do not leave the opportunity for them to feel bored or dissatisfied.

  Rather, police officers view themselves as necessities for their peoples.  According to Zhao, Thurman ; He (1999): “Analysis of survey data from a medium-sized police department in the northwestern United States suggests that a police agency’s work environment is a principal source of job satisfaction, regardless of the measure of the dependent variable employed.”  Given that society is clearly mistaken with regard to its general assumptions about the policing job; in order for police departments to meet with recruiting success it is necessary also to publicize such research.For the police force to sustain itself, whilst recruiting new officers, the issue of job satisfaction must include the rest of the issues in police recruitment, e.g. salary and benefits.

  A higher salary and greater benefits should add to the job satisfaction of police officers.  At the same time, there are other variables which could be taken into consideration, e.g. the mentoring of police officers.  Research has shown that police officers with mentors are always more satisfied with their jobs.  Moreover, female police officers with mentors could experience higher job satisfaction rates as compared to males in the same position (Aremu & Adeyoju, 2003).Methods of RecruitmentWebsitesPolice departments around the globe are well aware of the implications of new technology, as criminals devise new methods of fooling both the technologies as well as the innocent.

  The face recognition software and other valuable innovations are presently being adopted by the police force as new ways of catching criminals.  Moreover, the police force has adopted the Internet to advertise new positions within the force.  Online applications and Internet testing are also gaining popularity in police recruitment (“NY Trooper;” “LAPD Online;” “UK Police”).  In this way, police recruitment is not at all different from business recruitment, or the selling of products and services online.Word of MouthBesides newspapers, policing magazines, and the Internet; police recruiters often rely on word of mouth to attract new entrants into the force.  In small towns where everybody knows most of the townsfolk, the word of mouth method is expected to work better than in larger cities.  In large cities, police officers typically attract their own families and friends into the force by word of mouth.

  It is advisable to reinforce the word of mouth technique with other methods of reaching out to potential entrants, however, e.g. posters.

 Job FairsFor all kinds of professions, job fairs have shown themselves to be a blessing, linking employers with employees while describing the jobs on the spot.  The following online advertisement of a policing road show offers a chance to infer the extent of the value that job fairs could add to the policing community by attracting the right people:…These events are for members of the public to find out more about the job opportunitiesat Thames Valley Police. Recruiters for Police Officers, Police Community Support Officers(PCSO), Special Constables (SC), Police Enquiry Centres (PECs), Control Room staff andVolunteers will be on hand to talk to you about the various roles.  Representatives from theWomen’s Police Association (WPA),…Black Police Association (BPA) and a Communityand Diversity Officer will also be at the events… (“Recruiting Roadshows”). Recruitment of Minority GroupsWomenEven in the twenty first century, policing is a male dominated profession.

  Using all of the above methods for reaching out to potential entrants into the force, police departments in the Western world are nowadays planning to recruit more women (Milgram).  Special advertisements for women are recommended (“Could You,” 2004).  After all, women are a target segment on their own in the marketing of policing jobs.MinoritiesPolicing involves the guarding of the interests of entire communities, which may or may not be inclusive of minority groups.  Just as it is central to the sustenance of the police force to recruit women to especially guard the interests of other women; it is important to involve all ethnic groups that form a part of the community.

  As a matter of fact, both women and other minority groups should be considered equals to the rest (“Women in Policing,” 2007).  Seeing that the police force has often suffered a bad reputation because of racial profiling, experts suggest that the recruitment of minority groups requires special plans in action (Tangel, 2004).  Besides, affirmative action mandates such recruitment.ConclusionAs we have discovered, there are four issues that essentially determine whether the police force can be sustained: (1) Police officers should have competitive salaries; (2) There should be sustainable benefits to complement the salaries; (3) Police officers should have degrees; and (4) The fact that police officers are generally satisfied with their jobs should be publicized in order to attract fresh entrants into the force.  The police force may use a host of media to advertise new policing positions.  Newspapers, magazines, posters, Internet, word of mouth, and job fairs work well for the police force to reach out to potential entrants.

  At the same time, the police force must use special advertisements to target female entrants and minority groups as new applicants for police jobs.  Using all or a combination of the above strategies, the police force would certainly find itself in the position to attract the best talent and sustain itself in the long run.