UNITED STATES NEWS

Study seeks to understand police recruiting and retention

Apr 7, 2023, 1:04 PM

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — A police force and university in northern Virginia are teaming up for what they say will be a first-of-its-kind study that will seek over the next 20 years the assess the challenges police agencies face in recruitment and retention.

Police departments across the country are reporting that they cannot hire officers fast enough to replace those retiring or resigning. An annual survey of nearly 200 agencies by the Police Executive Research Forum shows that resignations increased by 47 percent from 2019 to 2022.

The Fairfax County Police Department, which is participating in the study announced Friday, is emblematic of the trend. Police Chief Kevin Davis said the police force is more than 200 officers short of the 1,484 officers it is authorized to employ, though he said a larger-than-normal academy class of 58 will soon fill some of the gap.

Davis said at a press conference Friday that the study will help agencies like his understand what police need to do to attract the best recruits and keep them on the force.

“We think over time, and hopefully over many years, we’ll learn a lot more about who wants to become part of this profession and why,” Davis said.

The study, led by George Mason University, will not only follower officers throughout their careers, but will also look at applicants who decide for whatever reason against becoming officers.

Cynthia Lum, a professor with GMU’s Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy, said that while recruitment and retention are key issues in the policing profession, there’s a lack of academic studies assessing the reasons.

“These are questions that have existed for decades about why people join the police department, why they leave,” she said. “And I feel like we’re just still guessing. And we’re guessing because we don’t have these types of studies.”

Lum said the plan is to continue the study for 20 years, though long-term funding will still have to be secured.

The National Policing Institute is providing initial funding. Its president, Jim Burch, said the lessons learned in Fairfax will be relevant across the country. But he said he’d like to see this sort of study replicated across the country.

For a profession that faces accusations of racism, especially in recent years, Burch said it will be important for the study to address applicants’ and officers’ views on race. He said he’s confident that academics have the skills and tools necessary to get an honest assessment of those views. And Lum emphasized that the study will be independent and officers will have the ability to speak freely and at times anonymously about their views.

Davis said he thinks the quality of officers entering the profession is better than it was when he started 30 years ago. He said that stems in part from recruitment efforts that seek to draw from a broader pool of the population. That extends beyond racial demographics. As an example, Davis said his force used to provide a salary bump for applicants with criminal justice degrees. That has been changed to incorporate graduates who had different academic interests.

“We hired psychology majors, sociology majors, and we’re looking for a greater representation of the community,” he said.

United States News

Associated Press

New York requiring paid break time for moms who need to pump breast milk at work, under new law

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York moms returning to work after giving birth will now get paid break time when they need to pump breast milk at their jobs, under a new law that took effect Wednesday. Gov. Kathy Hochul said the law requires employers in the state to provide a half hour of paid […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Cooler temps and rain could help corral blazes that forced thousands to flee New Mexico village

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Cooler weather — and the chance of rain — could bring some relief this week to firefighters battling blazes in southern New Mexico that killed one person, damaged hundreds of structures and forced thousands to evacuate. Strong wind pushed the larger of two wildfires into the mountain village of Ruidoso, forcing […]

12 hours ago

Associated Press

Immigrant families rejoice over Biden’s expansive move toward citizenship, while some are left out

HOUSTON (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of immigrants had reason to rejoice when President Joe Biden unveiled a highly expansive plan to extend legal status to spouses of U.S. citizens but, inevitably, some were left out. Claudia Zúniga, 35, married in 2017, or 10 years after her husband came to the United States. He moved […]

12 hours ago

Associated Press

Early blast of heat and humidity leaves millions sweltering across the US

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A blast of heat and humidity in the Midwest and Northeast days before the official start of summer put a wet blanket on outdoor activities from festivals to sports camps as officials urged people to take precautions. Cities that opened cooling centers this week advised that Wednesday’s Juneteenth holiday means some […]

12 hours ago

This photo provided by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department shows a monolith near Gass Peak, Ne...

Associated Press

Gleaming monolith pops up in Nevada desert, the latest in a series of quickly vanishing structures

Jutting out of the rocks in a remote mountain range near Las Vegas, the monolith's reflective surface imitates the vast desert landscape surrounding the mountain peak where it has been erected.

15 hours ago

Associated Press

California man charged with killing gay college student takes the stand

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A California man charged with killing a gay University of Pennsylvania student in an alleged hate crime six years ago testified Tuesday about how the two men connected on social media and went to a park. It was the last time the victim was seen. Samuel Woodward, 26, took the […]

17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

Study seeks to understand police recruiting and retention