Just a week after she indicated that police retention is a more pressing problem than recruitment, Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon yesterday announced steps to enhance police recruitment while mentioning no concrete plans for improving retention rates, the Baltimore Sun reports. Dixon’s six-point plan calls for increasing the police recruitment goal from 240 to 300 new officers a year, providing tutoring and training courses for the required civil service test, expanding the cadet program, and establishing a $1 million loan program for college students who commit to becoming police officers.
Dixon will analyze the effectiveness of the department’s recruitment and training process and the impact of its marketing program, which preliminary data show “could be getting a stronger return” on its “investment.” Dixon’s key opponent in the mayoral election. City Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr., and the head of the police union both criticized her for focusing on recruitment, when the crux of the problem is keeping police officers in the city. Mitchell vows to boost the police force by 250 and give an across-the-board 15 percent raise to all officers. Police Commissioner Leonard Hamm said the department loses about 25 officers a month.