Hiring the Best

UnknownIt seems that the old dodge is still the new one. When one police chief was asked why his department, which served a predominately African-American citizenry, had few minority officers his response was, “No blacks apply. If they don’t apply, we can’t hire them!”

He was then asked why his department doesn’t go out and recruit at black colleges. His answer, “We don’t have the budget do that.” I would respond by saying his city cannot afford not to go out and recruit in order to diversity the police department. Can his city afford to pay for civil unrest, civil settlements, the lack of police cooperation in the community, and growing mistrust. Can they afford that?

But even if his department launched a nation-wide recruiting program there remain many reasons why a person of color (or any person for that matter) would want to  join his police department.

Let’s understand this: If a city wants to change the complexion of its police department there must be funds, passion and commitment to do it. It also something else very important: to develop an organization that is attractive to candidates.

Almost three decades ago, John Naisbitt and Patricia Auberdence approached this topic in their highly-successful book, “Reinventing the Corporation.” Here’s how any organization hires (and retains) the best and the brightest.


Get ready! These are the questions the best candidates for your department will ask.

  1. Is your police department a place where I will experience personal growth? How will this happen?
  2. How does your department reward performance and initiative?
  3. What is your department’s vision and mission?
  4. How is your department structured? What kinds of networking occurs in the organization?
  5. How does your department stand on wellness, health and fitness? What incentives are there for me to maintain a healthy lifestyle?
  6. Is your department flexible about job arrangements? What are your policies on maternity and paternity leave, or caring for disabled parents? Is there day care available in the work place?
  7. How successful have women and minorities been in your police department?  Please give me some examples.
  8. How is your department connected with a college or university? What is your department’s commitment to life-long education?
  9. What sort of in-service programs do you have for my continuous improvement and life-long learning?
  10. Is this a department where people are having fun? Please give me some examples. [i]

[i] Reinventing the Corporation, John Naisbitt and P. Auberdene, NY: Warner Books, 1985.