Police Staffing

Reframing the Police Staffing Challenge: A Systems Approach to Workforce Planning and Managing Workload Demand. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, Vol. 18, 2024.

Policing agencies in the United States and elsewhere continue to face staff shortages. Calls for greater diversity and different skills among police officers further complicate staffing efforts. Attempts to address these issues typically focus on recruitment and retention. This oversimplifies the problems and leads to piecemeal solutions. We draw on multiple threads of staffing research and field experience to highlight lessons for building effective police workforces. We illustrate the interconnected nature of staffing allocation, workload demand, performance objectives, staff supply…

Read More

Becoming a Learning Organization for Recruitment. Police Chief, 2024.

This article discusses how a police agency can become a learning organization for recruitment. First, it reviews some recent issues and initiatives in recruiting. Second, it discusses recruiting in the context of becoming a learning organization. Third, it reviews how one agency has applied the principles of a learning organization to its own recruiting work. Finally, it identifies some lessons for agencies interested in applying principles of a learning organization. Read More

Read More

Police Recruitment and Selection: Resources and Lessons for Workforce Building. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing, 2023.

Police officer recruitment and selection are challenging, yet vitally important contributors to police accountability and establishing a trusted relationship with the community. To help police leaders make informed decisions, researchers at Michigan State University reviewed existing literature and compiled this guide to current resources on law enforcement staffing. The guide presents summaries of publications describing innovative strategies and rigorously tested recruitment and selection tactics in a format that is concise and accessible. All information is cross tabulated on an easy-to-read…

Read More

Police Retention: A Systematic Review of the Research. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, Vol. 17 (Online Advance), 2023.

Difficulties in recruitment and retention undermine the ability of U.S. police departments to maintain and diversify their workforces, particularly in light changing workloads and performance expectations. The police reform movement and recent increases in crime have highlighted these challenges, but other systemic and acute issues have also made staffing departments difficult. Attention to police staffing has been sporadic and uneven, with much discussion focused on recruitment. Given increasing attrition and that retention is more efficient than recruitment, there is considerable…

Read More

Staffing Composition in Large, US Police Departments: Benchmarking Workforce Diversity. Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 45(5): 707-726, 2022.

Purpose – Policymakers have long suggested diversifying US police forces, which typically have white male majorities among officers. This article explores to what extent police diversity has changed over time in large agencies, as well as whether different diversity benchmarks may matter for agencies.Design/methodology/approach – The authors draw data from the Law Enforcement Management andAdministrative Statistics (LEMAS) survey for 358 agencies that had at least 100 full-time sworn officers in 1997 and 2016 and that reported officer demographic data to…

Read More

Reframing the Police Staffing Challenge: Strategies for Meeting Workload Demand. COPS Office Community Policing Dispatch, Vol. 15(1), 2022.

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…

Read More

Recruitment and Retention for Workforce Diversity. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing and International Association of Chiefs of Police, 2021.

The purpose of this guidebook is to provide the law enforcement field with information about existing resources for promoting workforce diversity through a variety of staffing mechanisms. More specifically, it focuses on creating a pipeline of officers, marketing, selection, staffing for recruitment, mentorship, organizational climate, career progression, analysis and benchmarking, and substantive focus on women and race/ethnicity. It is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather to promote awareness of research and professional publications that may not have been visible…

Read More

“The Critical Role of Communication in Recruitment of Police Officers” in Handbook of Policing, Communication, and Society. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 47-56, 2021.

Communication is critical to the police workforce development process, from recruitment, selection and hiring to training, career progression and executive succession planning. To be sure, each stage requires unique forms of communication in terms of style, form, content, purpose and other attributes. Modestly, this chapter focuses on the first stage of recruitment. It aims to frame key aspects of the recruitment process and the importance of communication to them, highlighting roles, opportunities and challenges for both the organization and recruit.…

Read More

Evidence-Based Planning in the National Park Service: Using Data to Inform Law Enforcement Decision Making and Deployment. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Interior, National Park Service, 2019.

In the fall of 2016, we launched a collaborative effort to study law enforcement staffing for the National Park Service. As part of this research, this report aims to illustrate for park law enforcement leadership how data and analysis can inform deployment and strategy. Primary topics covered include crime analysis, traffic accident analysis, call for service data, work schedules, problem-oriented policing, and program evaluation.

Read More

Law Enforcement in the National Park Service: An Assessment of the Demand for and Allocation of Rangers. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Interior, National Park Service, 2019.

This report summarizes the lessons we developed as part of an assessment of law enforcement in the National Park Service. It examines the staffing landscape and what rangers do, key management issues, as well as various approaches to determining staffing levels. Importantly, it offers a new data-driven approach to ranger staffing that integrates principles of operational risk management.

Read More
Featured Research

A Performance-Based Approach to Police Staffing and Allocation

U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

Brand Protection and the Global Risk of Product Counterfeits: A Total Business Solution Approach

Edward Elgar Publishing