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Cop Crunch: Identifying Strategies for Dealing with the Recruiting and Hiring Crisis in Law Enforcement

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2005
115 pages
In response to law enforcement agencies crisis with recruitment and hiring, this federally supported report examines the nature and extent of the “cop crunch” and identifies department-level policies and/or practices that facilitate the recruiting and hiring of quality personnel, including women and minorities.
Key highlights on recruitment efforts being used by State and local law enforcement to improve recruiting and hiring of quality personnel include newspaper ads, career fairs, the Internet, and individual police programs (i.e., college internships, explorer programs, and school resource officers). Application procedure highlights include: the acceptance of applications on a continual basis or when a vacancy exists and applicants need not live in the agency service area. In regards to selection procedures, survey highlights include: agencies pay recruits a salary during training, agencies offer a uniform allowance or provide them, agencies pay for recruit training off-site, agencies offer salary increases for college degrees, and agencies allow officers to work overtime. In regards to minority and female recruits, minority recruits are better represented in the applicant, qualified applicant, and hiree categories than female recruits. Identified factors for inadequacies in hiring minorities and females include: decreasing numbers of qualified applicants and individual characteristics, such as past drug use and limited life experience. Promising practices in the recruiting of women include: direct recruiting at events geared towards women, such as women’s fitness clubs or women’s athletic events. Two substantively meaningful agency-level predictor variables in the minority hires model were identified. First, when an agency requires applicants to have 2 years of college or 60 credit hours, the number of minority applicants decreases. Second, when an agency requires that applicants have a college degree or higher the number of minority applicants increases. This report examines the nature and extent of the “cop crunch” and identified department-level policies/practices that facilitate the recruiting and hiring of quality police personnel and facilitated the recruiting and hiring of minorities and women. The project utilized a two-part methodology involving a national survey and follow-up phone interviews.

Date Published: December 1, 2005