Friday, June 6, 2014

How to Emulate the Sports, Music and Military Industries for Police Recruitment & Retention

Edward Brown, M.S.

A Google search was conducted for the question, “How long does the average person stay in the military?”  The results suggested that a large number of military personnel leave after 4 years. Other results showed 6-8 years. But, rarely are enlisted personnel staying twenty years or more. What could this mean for police recruitment? The military could be a bonafide feeder system for police departments.

Edward Brown, M.S., of Core Edge Police Professional Development, provides questions and answers about police departments using the best practices of the music, sports and military industries to enhance recruitment and retention efforts.

Q: What aspects of the music and sports industries do you think police departments can benefit from?

Brown: The music industry no longer invests in the longevity of artists. Due to the rapidly changing tastes of the buying public, record companies have begun using a conveyor belt system for artists. Meaning, when an artist creates a hit single, that’s all that’s needed before the company moves on to the next artist. Police departments should look at the life span of a police officer's career in 3-4 year intervals. Just long enough to reap the investments of training officers. Officers who show growth potential can be provided more advancement opportunities. Also, this could tie in with the military by having police officers enlist with a department contractually for 4 years. Contracts could be extended and renegotiated based on performance and tenure. Additionally, police departments could use the military as a feeder system, just as professional sports use the college sports system. By implementing best practices of other industries, police departments can reinvent themselves.
Q: Why do you believe these models can work within law enforcement?

Brown: Because most organizational development is based on the military model. Take any successful organization, old or new, and you will see that: 1. Decision-making is made at the top of the hierarchy and 2. Market forces and societal changes drive innovation. Corporations restructure their operations to fit organizational needs.  Police departments can do the same.

Q: Based on your knowledge of police departments, are they inclined to use best practices within other industries to improve their operations?

Brown: Typically, if one department tries a new approach and experiences success, other departments often will follow. With budget constraints and the natural apprehension of police leaders, a department has to show a method is effective before others will invest in it.

Q: What final advice would you give police leaders for being more innovative?

Brown: Just as CompStat is used to identify crime patterns and problems, a business trend-tracking arm of the department allows for the identification of ideas and solutions within other industries that can be applied to police operations. Consequently, data can be accumulated for tracking crime as well as business trends for improved operations.

Edward Brown, M.S., is a researcher and lead instructor for Core Edge Police Professional Development.  Ed is a former Atlanta police officer and has trained command staff and supervisors throughout the U.S. on communication and leadership development skills.

He has advanced legal training from the University of Dayton School of Law and a master’s degree from Mercer University in Public Safety Leadership.

Ed is the author of nine books including: Police Leadership: The Morale Driven Police Department and The A-Team: How to Be a Top Police Department in Recruiting, Training and Retaining Employees available at Amazon Kindle.  

For more information, visit: Top Cop