Creating a strong police department (or business for that matter) involves getting outstanding officers. But if those officers leave quickly, it doesn’t matter how good the people you hire are. Officer retention is an issue with a variety of departments across the country. Here are some tips to help retain officers.
Police officers are known to have good benefit packages, or at least that is what the public believes. Offering a benefit package that helps to attract and keep employees is a must. More than that though, your package needs to be tailored to your officers and their needs. Once a year or so poll your officers to find out what could be improved in their work environment.
A major reason that employees anywhere want to go looking for a new job is they feel a lack of chances to expand what they do. If there is no room to grow, they feel as if they aren’t able to anywhere unless someone vacates a long time position. In big city departments this might not be as much of an issue but in smaller departments it can cause officers to look for places to go.
Opening up training opportunities and new tasks for officers who choose to select them is a great way to keep people from leaving.
A lot of police officers leave their job because they feel under appreciated or not appreciated at all. The obvious nature of this is that the public has mixed feeling about law enforcement that has hit peaks in recent years. Coming up with ways for your officers to overcome the stress of being unappreciated by the public is a must. It also helps to organize community events to help try to improve relations with the community.
A lesser known source of unappreciation is with the department management. Any company can run the risk of making their employees feel under appreciated. Creating ways for your officers to feel recognized is a great idea. Try Coming up with ideas such as officer appreciation or department awards.
No one hates a job more than a business that has a negative culture. Causes of a negative culture vary but one of the most common reasons is low morale. Another cause can be bad working conditions and old equipment. Knowing your department is important, that way you can identify when your department culture isn’t positive. You can also use this to identify what to do to correct the culutre.
Even the most glamorous jobs have people that won’t like doing them. Law enforcement is no different. Identifying the people who aren’t a good fit for the job early is important. This starts by education candidates on what the job is like, the requirements, and the difficult parts. Doing ride alongs, having information sessions, and learning about candidates on both a professional and personal level are great ways to help determine whether a career in law enforcement is right for them.
People who aren’t a right fit for the job and/or don’t like the job are usually the first to leave, costing the department money.
On the same note, there are officers who apply to departments just to find their way in. Chances are you have at least some of these people applying every hiring session if not a lot. Creating interest among these candidates for your department and keeping them interested is important. Capturing these people can turn uninterested recruits into loyal officers.
The number one way to retain officers is to help them feel like someone cares for them. No matter if they are too macho to voice it or not, everyone likes feeling like they are cared for. Retaining officers isn’t just a logical thing to do, it is a financially sound course of action. Training replacement officers is often a great cost. This is especially true when you don’t know how long the replacement will stay.
Did you just get a job as a law enforcement officer or are you trying to get one?
Law enforcement is a very rewarding career, one that can enhance your life and benefit you greatly. Preparing for a job in law enforcement shares some similarities to other careers. At the same time it has unique challenges to overcome.
Let’s take a moment to examine how you can prepare for a job as a law enforcement officer.