Cutting-Edge Recruitment and Selection: Current Perspectives and Future Challenges
Facilitator: Dr. Karen Amendola, Community Policing Consortium
Panelists: Colonel Carl Hawkins, Hillsborough County (Florida) Sheriff's Department Dr. John Nicoletti, Police Psychologist, Lakewood (Ohio) Police Department Deputy Superintendent Ellen Scrivner, Chicago (Illinois) Police Department Commissioner Leonard Matarese, Department of Human Resources, City of Buffalo, New York
The session addressed key issues in recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining police officers who are equipped to handle 21st-century law enforcement challenges. Law enforcement is transitioning to a different kind of work force, and there is a need for 21st-century standards to meet the changes, Ellen Scrivner noted, and police departments must adjust to those changes. In addition, engaging the community is critical for both chiefs and officers in the field.
Karen Amendola said that agencies have to present a realistic picture of what policing is, especially concerning the concepts of community policing and hiring in the sprit of service, and that policing is much more than car chases and shooting. Recruits should know from the start what is expected and required of them, the procedures for evaluating candidates, and the knowledge that some recruits will not be accepted. Furthermore, elected officials have to be educated about the requirements for becoming a police officer. And the recruits themselves want jobs that are interesting and worthwhile.
Further discussion centered on the processes of screening in and screening out to determine, as John Nicoletti pointed out, "that recruits have the right attitude toward community policing and service and the skill sets to put them into practice." Also discussed were the appropriate questions to ask and not ask at different stages of the process, and acceptable pre-offer and post-offer approaches. For example, Leonard Matarese noted that during the pre-offer stage it is acceptable to conduct psychological tests to determine if the candidate fits in with the psychology of the police department. After a job offer has been made, the candidate's medical background can be investigated. Carl Hawkins discussed whether to use a pass/fail system or a scale (1, 2, 3) when rating recruits, and suggested that pass/fail was better. Recruits who fail could be encouraged to apply again in a year or so. By then the recruit could have matured or learned better skills. Ellen Scrivner stated that potential employers should know not only what is wrong with a candidate, but also what is right.