How to Rate Police: Hiring

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Does the police agency select the best qualified individuals to be police officers and its leaders?

The extent to which a police agency attracts and selects a broad spectrum of qualified officers is a measure of its caliber. Officers should be chosen on the basis of their having the necessary skills, background, and intelligence for police work, regardless of their race, gender, physical size, or sexual orientation… Salary scales should be locally competitive so as to attract and retain qualified individuals… Over 40 years ago, a national presidential commission recommended that all police have a minimum of a 4-year college degree. It is difficult to understand how any person with an educational level less than that could, today, perform the demanding and complex duties of a police officer in our society… Those who are called to be leaders and promoted within the agency, must be selected on the basis of their ability, competency, visible practice of and commitment to, the values of the organization, and not solely on their years of service.

Does the police agency reinforce the minimum requirements for a police officer working in a free and democratic society?

Officers should receive a minimum level of training every year to keep them current on changes and new methods and development within the police field. Annual training should reinforce and hold officers accountable for the four basic minimum requirements of a quality police officer:

  • Effectiveness: Effectiveness is the ability of police officers to use properly the knowledge and skills they have been taught…
  • Integrity: Integrity is essential for those who are charged with enforcing our laws and maintaining order and security in our communities…
  • Civility and Courtesy: These characteristics are the cornerstone upon which the agency builds trust and legitimacy within the community. “Uncivil and discourteous officers” is the single most frequent complaint against the police…
  • Health and physical fitness: A balanced diet, moderate drinking habits, hobbies, sports, friendships with people who are not associated with police work, and routine physical exercise provide officers with the equilibrium necessary to perform their jobs well…

How to rate cover

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