Police Recruitment: Best Practices to Ensure a Competent, Skilled Workforce

Police Recruitment: Best Practices to Ensure a Competent, Skilled Workforce

Author: 
Edward H. Hoisington Jr.
Program of study: 
D.M.
Abstract: 
This researcher examined the recruitment process to identify best practices for law enforcement leaders to populate vacant positions with a competent and skilled workforce. The purpose of this qualitative exploratory case study was to identify best practices for law enforcement agencies to recruit and maintain trustworthy officers to protect local communities. The conceptual framework for this study was based on the historical evolution of recruitment practices. The researcher used a review of past and present police-recruitment practices to help identify best practices by which law enforcement administrators can select trustworthy officers. This case study was used to examine and compare recruitment practices, minimum requirements, disqualifiers, advertising campaigns, testing procedures, background investigations, and panel interviews. The researcher conducted face-to-face interviews with law enforcement officers and human-resource personnel from four of Virginia’s law enforcement departments, and identified three themes based on the sample population’s responses: strategy, trends, and requirements. The researcher identified a progression of recruitment practices executed by a layered-approach. The recruitment process addressed eligibility requirements and potential disqualifiers established by hiring authorities and the State of Virginia. Through the findings of this study, law enforcement leaders may be armed with new knowledge to improve the recruitment process, with the end result of recruiting a qualified and competent workforce.
Dedication: 
This research is dedicated to the men and women of law enforcement who demonstrate a high-level of professionalism every day. These elite law enforcement officers possess an unwavering compassion to promote public safety, despite the risk. Public trust is the byproduct of community perception; deviant officers are scare. The ultimate tasks to attract, select, and retain qualified and competent officers is the responsibility of specialized components. Recruitment officers, background investigators, polygraphists, detectives, human-resource officers, medical personnel, and volunteers extinguish countless hours scheduling, testing, interviewing, and corroborating information to identify candidates worthy of wearing the uniform and serving the community.
Acknowledgements: 
A huge thank you to Dr. James Beeks, my chair, who encouraged me through the dissertation journey. Dr. James Beeks was a blessing in disguise: a law enforcement and academic professional and perfect mentor. A huge thank you to the committee members, Dr. Shana Nicholson, PhD, and Dr. Eric Jeglum, DBA. The committee’s attention to detail and professional insight were instrumental in the completion of this dissertation journey. This quest would not have been possible without the cooperation and courageous leadership of the Chiefs of Police and Sheriffs who provide access to the officers, deputies, human resource officers, and other personnel. The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services’ (DCJS) timely response to my Freedom of Information Act request provided new knowledge and validated data collected from interviews, public announcements, and other open-source information. Membership in the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST) was invaluable throughout this process. IADLEST is a conglomerate of subject-matter experts, practitioners, and academics dedicated to improving the quality of public safety through evidence-based practices and information sharing. Finally, I want to recognize my beautiful, intelligent, and caring wife. Laurie’s moral support and voice of reason kept me focused.