Strategies for Improving Officer Recruitment in the San Diego Police Department

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-12-25
  • Publisher: RAND Corporation
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"In policing, achievement of recruiting goals means more than just solving a human-resource problem. It means the adequate provision of public safety to residents, workers, businesses, and visitors. The San Diego Police Department (SDPD) has been operating below its authorized size in recent years. To bridge its personnel gap, the department needs to maximize its recruiting while minimizing officer attrition. To accomplish this goal, the department sought assistance from RAND to improve its recruiting efforts and suggest ways to improve the diversity of its recruits. Specifically, SDPD can optimize the recruiting process and manage recruiters and resources to achieve the maximum number of recruits. Through interviews, observations, reviewing recruiting material, and analyzing data, the authors assessed strategies for expanding SDPD's applicant pool, evaluated the written-test process, and reviewed fitness-exam and background-check processes. As a result, they have specific recommendations to improve SDPD's recruiting efforts: (1) target recruiting resources more effectively to reach a broader pool of applicants, (2) improve efficiency in the screening process, and (3) revise recruiting and testing practices. This monograph describes the study and the recommendations."--BOOK JACKET.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. iii
Figuresp. xi
Tablesp. xiii
Summaryp. xv
Abbreviationsp. xxix
Introductionp. 1
State of SDPD Recruitingp. 2
Conceptual Frameworkp. 3
Focus of Our Analysisp. 6
Organization of This Monographp. 7
Excellence in Police Recruitment and Hiringp. 9
Introductionp. 9
Lessons from Military-Recruiting Researchp. 11
Recruitment and Marketing Effortsp. 15
New Developments in Marketing and Recruitmentp. 16
Officer Selectionp. 19
New Developments in Officer Selectionp. 20
Other Organizational Policies and Practices Affecting Recruitment and Hiringp. 22
Characteristics of Police Recruitsp. 25
Characteristics, Motivations, and Experiences of Recruitsp. 25
Characteristics, Motivations, and Experiences of Those Less Likely to Become Police Officersp. 26
Implications for Improving Recruitment and Hiringp. 29
Summaryp. 31
Applicants' Motivations for a Law-Enforcement Career and SDPD Employmentp. 35
Introductionp. 35
Survey Research Designp. 35
Reasons for a Career in Law Enforcementp. 38
The Decision to Apply with SDPDp. 39
Military Experiencep. 41
Summaryp. 43
SDPD's Internet Presencep. 45
Introductionp. 45
Research Approachp. 45
Resultsp. 47
Navigational Easep. 47
Quality of Informationp. 54
Aesthetic Valuep. 59
Summaryp. 62
Targeting Recruitment Activities Outside the San Diego Areap. 63
Introductionp. 63
Infrequency of Extralocal Migrationp. 63
Financial Attractiveness of SDPD Nationallyp. 67
Targeted Recruiting in Criminal-Justice Programsp. 72
Summaryp. 76
Recruiter Managementp. 79
Elements of a Recruiter-Management Systemp. 80
Recruiting Goals Should Drive Recruiters' Behaviorsp. 81
Optimal Assignments Match Recruiters with Targeted Applicant Poolsp. 82
Recruiter Incentives Encourage Optimal Performance of Recruitersp. 82
Summaryp. 83
Overview of SDPD's Application Processp. 85
Introductionp. 85
Application Processp. 85
Analysis of the Screening Processp. 88
Demographics of SDPD Applicantsp. 88
Post-Written Test Outcomesp. 90
Analysis of the Background-Investigation Sergeantsp. 91
Detectives' Decisionsp. 93
Hirability of Written-Test Takersp. 99
Summaryp. 99
The Written Examp. 101
Introductionp. 101
Importance of the Examp. 101
Content of the Examp. 102
Analysis of Test Itemsp. 106
The Pass Pointp. 107
Summaryp. 110
Recommendations and Conclusionsp. 111
Target Recruiting Appeals to a Broader Range of Applicantsp. 111
Produce Marketing Materials That Highlight the Benefits of Law-Enforcement Careers and SDPD in Particularp. 111
Modernize the SDPD Recruiting Web Sitep. 112
Focus Recruiting Efforts Close to San Diego and Carefully Selected Sites Nationallyp. 113
Use SDPD's Internal Labor as a Pool of Candidatesp. 113
Offer Cash Incentives for Officers Referring New Applicants and Recruitsp. 114
Improve Efficiency in the Screening Processp. 115
Provide an Online Sample Testp. 115
Allow Other Standardized Tests to Substitute for SDPD's Written Testp. 115
Conduct a Pilot Study to Find an Optimal Pass Point for the Written Testp. 116
Analyze the Written Test for Problematic Questionsp. 117
Petition Post to Create a Written Examination Process That Meets San Diego's Police Testing Needsp. 118
Strengthen Its Recruiting Workforce and Practicesp. 118
Establish a Stable Recruiting Budgetp. 118
Turn Written-Test Sessions into Marketing Eventsp. 119
Applicants Who Drop Themselves from the Recruiting Process Should Be Redirected to Recruitersp. 120
Establish a Formal Incentive System for Recruitersp. 120
Develop a Succession Plan for Subsequent Recruiting Teamsp. 121
Conclusionsp. 121
Referencesp. 123
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