Retention is Real
It has been estimated that overall employment of police officers and detectives will increase by 3 percent from 2021 to 2031. This is below average compared to all other occupations in the United States. Despite 3 percent growth, about 68,500 openings for police and detectives are projected each year, on average. Most of these openings are due to changes in departments, changes in occupation, and, most commonly, officers retiring.
In certain locations, local and state budgets impact the drive for hires. Even when crime rates start to decrease, the demand for officers persists.
Something important to consider is the level of crime in an area and if that calls for a higher demand for officers. These areas are often understaffed because there is less incentive to work or live in an area that is overtaken by crime. Police departments often have hiring incentives or benefits to help increase the number of potential applicants, especially if they are located in an area with a higher crime rate.
Turning applicants into employees
Even after application numbers start to increase, many departments struggle to turn applicants into new hires. The long hiring process for a police officer position may discourage qualified applicants from reaching the final destination. The recruiting process for a new officer can be slow and exceptionally drawn out. Many recruits are young or fresh out of college and trying to find a job that will pay their bills. The long hiring process may deter them from becoming a police officer and persuade them to find a job where they can start getting paid right away.
Another issue is finding applicants who are qualified for the role. Many applicants start the process and soon find out they are not qualified for the job. There are many requirements one must pass to become a police officer. You must pass a background check, physical tests, and an interview to become a sworn police officer. Some departments discourage tattoos and piercings. Further, the use of recreational drugs may affect your chances of becoming an officer, even if legal in your area. These are all factors that can deter a potential candidate from finishing the hiring process.
Making the hiring process and decision as fast as possible will make applicants more inclined to stay throughout the entire process. It is important to be clear when advertising benefits and wage incentives. Having clean and clear advertising will help the applicant better understand what they are applying for and increase the likelihood of them making it to the finish line. Responding to applications promptly will also help turn your applicants into new officers. If you take these steps, you’ll be introduced to your next wave of officers in no time.