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Police staffing challenges are both acute and systemic. Those seeking to address police staffing shortages, whether for one or many agencies, must ask, and have answered, some challenging questions about the actual work the agency needs to complete, its desired approach to accomplish it, and the extent to which it is doing so most efficiently. While personnel are critical to any organization, staff is only one way to address the workload of police agencies. This discussion has introduced some examples of non-staff options, but they are by no means exhaustive. In today’s dynamic environment, all forms of accomplishing work accessible to an agency must be considered as part of a holistic strategy for maximizing organizational performance. Simply, it’s not just the number of staff that matters, but what they do and how they do it. Drawing on evidence and analysis, as well as examples from the field and research literature, can help decision makers manage their police workforces and work over time so that the law enforcement demand can be met by the most efficient combination of strategy, staff, and process.

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For an abbreviated version, see Reframing the Police Staffing Challenge: Strategies for Meeting Workload Demand. Michigan Police Chiefs Magazine, Summer: 14-16, 2022.