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The National Police Staffing Project

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $2,617,552)

Police recruitment, retention, and training, among the most difficult tasks police agencies face in the best of times, have become even more difficult in recent years. Recent contributors to these difficulties include issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and those of police legitimacy related to the George Floyd incident, the need for officers to have new skills, and the desire for agencies to diversify their forces. In other words, several longstanding issues in recruitment, retention, and training have persisted across U.S. jurisdictions, while new ones have emerged. Yet police and policymakers lack timely, systematic, or empirical data on these issues, with the most recent Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics data now six years old.

To address these issues, we propose a national platform of research that comprehensively and systematically

Examines the contemporary police staffing experience.
Assesses and provides actionable lessons on the nature, changes, challenges, and strategies associated with current workforce, recruitment, selection, attrition, retention, workload, promotion, job requirements, and training needs and requirements.

Our core tasks for this comprehensive national assessment are a nationally representative survey of police agencies and focus groups of POST directors, and case studies of participating agencies serving as benchmarks on their staffing efforts. Specific tasks include

National landscape assessment, including personnel budget, levels, workload, and tasks.
Training and certification assessment, including changes in hiring and certification standards and motivations for these.
Contextual assessment of five agencies—Charleston (SC), Denver (CO), Fresno (CA), Lansing (MI), and Philadelphia (PA)—selected for their diversity in staffing experience, size, region, partnerships, and enthusiasm to participate. For each case-study agency, we will conduct tasks 4 through 10.
Recruitment assessment, including recruiter characteristics and outreach material.
Selection assessment, including agency processes, and candidate flow and characteristics.
Job assessment of case-study agencies, including a content analysis of open positions.
Promotion assessment of case-study agencies, including their volume, diversity, and perceived barriers.
Attrition assessment, including characteristics of those leaving the agency and why.
Retention assessment, including strategies and perceptions of those staying.
Program evaluation, including efficiency, process, and cost-effectiveness analyses.
Deliverable construction and dissemination.
Archive data.

This project will provide objective, independent, and practice-relevant knowledge and lessons to practitioners, researchers, and policy makers about the nature, changes, challenges, and solutions relative to the police staffing process, from recruitment, selection, and retention to training, promotions, and community representation.
Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law," and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14). CA/NCF

Date Created: September 27, 2022