In the year since the killing of George Floyd, law enforcement agencies are experiencing an increase of retirements and departures as well as struggling to recruit the next generation of police officers.
According to new research on nearly 200 law enforcement agencies conducted by the Washington-based Police Executive Research Forum, the rate of hiring slowed by 5 percent, reports AP News.
Due to the increase in police brutality, police recruiters are looking for a different kind of recruit to join. Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant says, “Days of old, you wanted someone who actually had the strength to be more physical. Todays, police officers…. We’re looking for someone who can actually relate to the community but also thinks like the community thinks.”
While these are the people recruiters are trying to recruit, Lynda R. Williams, president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, who previously worked on recruitment efforts for the Secret Service says, “It’s hard to recruit the very people who see police as an oppression.”
Kaley Garced, a hairdresser-turned-police officer in Baltimore, says “Earning their trust” leads to better policing as citizens who trust officers won’t be afraid to call them and ask for help.
While recruitment in many departments has been a challenge, Williams believes that the next generation will bring a new outlook and move the profession forwards, making departments more diverse and inclusive. “They are the change they want to see,” she said.
In an op-ed published this month by Real Clear Policy, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said paying police officers “competitive” salaries would be a major step forward in improving policing.
“Simply put, you get what you pay for,” he wrote.
“Policing poses many potential dangers for both suspects and the police, and the pay isn’t always commensurate with the risks and skills required to do the job.”
According to Johnson, Dallas instituted “market-based pay increases” in 2019 after losing “some of our best young officers” to higher-paying suburban forces,
“If we want good community policing, we must set high standards and pay accordingly,” he wrote.
This summary was prepared by TCR intern Gabriela Felitto.