Question Four:

Recruitment, selection, and retention of competent and successful law enforcement officers is critical for a community to thrive and for citizens to feel safe in their city. Further, an inclusive and diverse police department that reflects the community leads to increased trust, cooperation, and transparency. As a candidate for Norfolk Police Chief, what experience would you bring in successful recruitment, selection, and retention of police officers and what ideas would you have to build on that experience to create a successful program in Norfolk since City leaders are very interested in creative initiatives to attract qualified candidates and ensure their longevity in the Department.

Candidate B Answer: 

The Norfolk Police Department (NPD) has experienced a massive reduction in manpower making recruitment, selection, and retention more critical for the safety and protection of the citizens in Norfolk. Law enforcement can increase trust, cooperation, transparency with a police department that is reflective of the community and exhibits principles of inclusivity and diversity. NPD currently employs 505 officers whose demographics do not reflect the community. NPD has approximately 67.8% of its sworn officers are Caucasian, 19.7% African American, 7.0% Hispanic, 3.9% Asian and 1% other. The demographics of the City of Norfolk according to the United States Consensus Bureau reflect 45.8% Caucasian, 40.7% African American, 8.6% Hispanic, and 3% Asian (

As a candidate for the Norfolk Police Chief, the experience [Redacted] would bring [-] years of experience from the [-] Police Department, [-] years of life experience, [-] years of­ experience ([-]),and  -]-year experience of residency in the [-]. Throughout [-] career, [-] has been invested in the recruitment, selection, and retention of officers on the department. [-] has been an informal recruiter from the day [-] hired on the department with the promotion of the department through word of mouth, ride along officer, and recruiting team. Every interaction is an opportunity for recruiting and it is important to model the behaviors of involvement and support during the recruiting phase.

[-] has participated in the recruitment initiatives such as being featured on the [-] recruitment website [-] inspiring a generation to join the department with the correlation of family as a branding point. [-] attends recruiting events and provide words of encouragement for the potential candidates in attendance. [-] has been involved with the oral board selection process and currently participate in the executive board selection process. [-] has volunteered for recruiting trips and provides suggestions to the team to increase recruiting efforts. [-] provides potential recruits with [-] department cell phone number along with recruitment and makes [-]self available to answer questions the applicant may have. 

Recruitment initiatives are important to attract qualified applicants especially the younger generation. The time between graduation from high school and eligibility to apply for a career in law enforcement can be injurious for a young person as adulthood emerges. It is extremely important to provide mentorship and direction for persons entering adulthood. In [-], [-] proposed an initiative called [-]. This program was geared towards high school seniors with interest in criminal justice. The student would attend a Saturday program at the Training Academy as a recruit for a day. The day would mirror a recruit class schedule including classroom instruction, physical training, lunch, scenario training and opportunity to meet officers and discuss the benefits of the job. At the end of the day, the student gains confidence in their ability and desire to do the job, relationships are formed, and the department has a potential candidate to mentor into a police recruit over the next three years. The department can employ the students upon the 18th birthday in civilian positions and assist the student with obtaining an Associates Degree in the process. The program provides educational opportunities to academically prepare the student for the vigorous classroom instruction. The State Code of Virginia under section 15.2-1705 allows for localities to hire police applicants at the age of 18 years old. This is another opportunity to bridge the gap between graduation of high school and entrance into the Basic Recruit Academy under the old regulations of 21 years of age.

[-] continually conducts informal and formal brainstorming sessions with members of the [-]. During a conversation with the Assistant Training Director, the duo began to devise a program called the [-] Recruitment Unit. [-] through recruitment, information, and relationships. The [-] Unit initiative developed out of the need to take police recruitment to where the people are. The current practices set up a recruitment table at a location and wait for "viable" candidates to engage the

recruiters. The [-] Unit will travel to locations with an untapped demographic of potential candidates such as beauty salons, nail salons, fitness centers, and community centers. The recruiting truck will require to be outfitted with a television to display the recruitment videos and tablets to allow potential candidates to review the automatic disqualifiers and submit applications or contact forms. The Training Division should offer opportunities to practice the 1.5 mile run after hours on the track and to create opportunities to engage and connect with members of the department. The key to recruitment and retention is to make potential employees and current employees feel a sense of belonging and cared about like a close-knit family by enhancing the connections with senior leaders.

The retention of officers has been a topic of contention as officers are leaving the police department to work for other law enforcement agencies, private companies, or entrepreneurship. While there are some reasons that are outside of leadership's control, there are few practices that can increase retention. As the Chief of Police, [-] will be an advocate for [-] officers. Officers need a feeling of support, genuine care and to receive fair and equitable treatment. The issues impacting the NPD did not occur overnight, there are long-standing practices with perception of inequity, unfairness, and inequality have ignited a reduction in morale along with other outstanding concerns. The key is to ensure that expectations, accountability, and consequences are standard practices and discipline, transfers, promotions, and training opportunities are fair and equitable across the rank and file.

Historically, NPD found success in recruitment and retention due to word of mouth and the strong connections officers had with the department. As Chief of Police, [-] would embrace the generational differences of the current workforce and implement strategies to foster an environment of belonging, engagement and caring. Internal transparency and communication would be top priority to ensure officers receive information and are given an opportunity to provide input. Theodore Roosevelt said, "People don't care how much you know until they how much you care."

[-] has shown empathy, care, and compassion by being present with officers, engaging officers in conversations, being approachable, open, and honest, and showing up at inopportune times to support [-] team. [-] provides [-] for officers who share [-] attends community events with the officers, employee engagement events, and supports officers in team sports events outside of the city. [-] is authentic and genuine. Although these are [-] character traits, these are also tools, [-] uses to aid in the retention of employees. 

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