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Lateral Entry -- A Move Toward the Future

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 59 Issue: 7 Dated: (1990) Pages: 1-5
J E Nix
Date Published
5 pages
One of the keys to successful law enforcement recruitment will be the practice of a full-scale lateral entry program.
Lateral entry is the ability of a police officer in one geographic location to enter employment in another area, with the officer's salary at the new department based on experience, job knowledge, and ability to do the job. The practice of lateral entry enhances recruiting, as it expands the pool of qualified personnel. Individual mobility is also enhanced. Factors such as dual-career couples, relocating to a smaller or larger police department, family considerations, and the highly mobile nature of our society generally, have made individual mobility an increasingly important factor in personnel recruitment. Another benefit of lateral entry is increased training and cost-effectiveness, as staff moving laterally are experienced and can be assimilated into the department more quickly. Finally, lateral entry enhances competition and educational growth in providing new talent and ability, enabling departments to select personnel from among the best candidates, and fosters competitiveness and on-going skills development. The two main obstacles to lateral entry are mid-level police administrators and general resistance to change in the field. While State and Federal legislative reforms can facilitate acceptance of lateral entry, it is at the local level where acceptance and support must be won. 19 references.