U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Retaining Police Talent

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 57 Issue: 12 Dated: December 2009 Pages: 44-49
Dwayne Orrick
Date Published
December 2009
6 pages
This article discusses what law enforcement agencies must do to attract candidates and retain them after they are hired.
Some of the issues that should be considered in this endeavor include compensation, leadership, selection processes, developmental opportunities, and the organizational culture. Regarding compensation, agencies do not have to pay the highest wages, but should be at or above the market average. Protections should be in place that ensure salaries remain competitive, along with compensation-related benefits, including leave, retirement, and insurance. Building effective organizational leadership is also important in ensuring that the organizational climate is conducive to a rational, sensitive, and flexible working environment that takes account of employee needs as well as high-quality performance in fulfilling the agency's mission. Part of organizational leadership is focusing on the core values of the organization. These core values should be made clear in recruitment, selection, policy development, decisionmaking, training, and conflict resolution, so that those working in the organization will not experience tension between their personal values and those of the organization. Such conflict leads to poor performance and turnover. One of the most effective ways to retain employees is to provide career development guidance and tools that expand employees' skills, experience, and qualifications for promotion. The institution of a career "ladder" can help make clear to employees that opportunities exist to move up in the organization if they remain with the agency. Employees also want to feel that the organization is paying attention to what they are doing by providing feedback and recognition regarding job performance. This can involve regular meetings with staff in which job performance is assessed and contributions to the agency's mission are acknowledged. Organizations should also show concern for employees' personal health and fitness as well as their family life.