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Recruitment and Retention in Hiring Officers in Criminal Justice

The criminal justice system in the USA consists of the police, courts, and correctional services. The main role of the field is to ensure that law and order are maintained while the offenders are granted justice. The police force works under pressure and requires sound judgment at all times. Despite the challenge, police officers must retain composure, weigh the consequences, and act according to reason. One of the key challenges in the police force is the recruitment process, where women and minority communities feel that they have been left out.

Consequently, the police force expresses a negative public perception which hinders people’s interest in joining. Consequently, the recruitment process is affected, jeopardizing the quality of service delivered. Throughout enforcement history, one of the significant challenges has been recruiting and retaining officers to the service. The deficit in the police department staff jeopardizes efficiency, and strategies are required to improve the recruitment and retention of officers.

Overview of the Recruitment Process in the Criminal Justice System

Hiring challenges in law enforcement agencies motivated numerous research on the best strategies to recruit and retain staff in the police force. It is imperative to note that the service has been under severe scrutiny by public media and has often been termed a corrupt and unethical profession. Population diversity has increased people’s expectations of the police service. The key motivation for why people join the police force is job security and eagerness to serve the community. The number of women in the police force is slightly lower than that of men. Family obligation is one of the barriers preventing women from joining the police force. Women and minority communities comprised 14.6% of the police force. The lower percentage makes the minority feel less involved in day-to-day community policing. The ill feeling affects the relationship between the police and the people. Racial discrimination further affects the relationship between the police and civilians.

Recruitment and retention of officers is arguably the most significant problem facing the police force. The challenge jeopardizes the effort to serve the people, and despite the efforts, the police force cannot serve the Americans the best it can serve. President Barrack Obama issued an executive order in 2014 to investigate issues affecting the police service, and device means to ensure that the department worked under the law to serve the people. The first recommendation of the task force was to build trust and legitimacy. Recruitment and retention could be improved if the command staff builds legitimacy and trust in the police force. The then president of the USA met all the law enforcement, religious, and societal leaders to ensure that they formulate policies to improve the performance of the police department through better treatment of staff.

Resignation, termination of service, and retirement are the key ways people quit service. However, most organizations have more people joining than the number of people leaving. The exponential population growth cascaded with social ills such as drug abuse and gun control in the USA requires an effective police department. The increased number of resignations in the US police force will likely hinder performance in the discourse. A key recommendation to enhance recruitment in the police force was to ensure that every recruitment must comply with the diversity rule of reflecting all the people in the community. The recruits must include language, gender, race, and language and life experiences. When people feel represented in the police force, their relationship with the community is improved. Consequently, the recruitment agencies were to initiate precise and ethical practices for recruitment to ensure the population demographics have been provided.

Historical Context of the Criminal Justice Recruitment and Retention

Security is one of the basic human needs that must be provided for quality of life. The police force as part of the criminal justice system in the USA traces its origins in 1636 in New York. The department started as a watch system where volunteers watched as others slept to improve neighborhood safety. As the population grew and the American Revolution began, there was a need for a more coordinated security force to assure the trader’s safety as they traversed from one part to another. The village elders formed the constables to maintain security within the given jurisprudence. In 1838, the idea to have municipal central police serve the people was developed when village heads had security personnel coordinating with the others from the following villages. The police posts had four main features related to recent police posts. The police posts were publicly supported, and villagers had to contribute to the people’s well-being.

The police posts in the past, like the contemporary stations, are accountable to the central government. The officers were recruited into full-time employment and served the community with their futures secured by their jobs. Further, the police posts had permanent rules to be followed to enhance service delivery. The recruitment levels started changing as people had different perceptions of the police force. As the slave trade began in the USA, patrolling was one of the critical roles in the police force. Slave lords hired them to profile people according to their races and exploit them. 100% of the forces were whites and were used to brutalize the blacks. The poor relationship between law enforcement agencies and African Americans worsened. The Missouri protests in 2015 presented the police force as an agent of racial discrimination, and its relationship with society was further ruined. Minority representation in the workforce was used as proof of racial discrimination. The worsening relationship between the police and the civilians reduced the job satisfaction rate.

Four Eras of Policing

Failure to diversify the police force became a significant cause of failure in the criminal justice system. The officers recruited in the contemporary world differ from those in previous times. The history of the American police department can be divided into four distinct eras. The political era happened between 1840 and 1930 and was characterized by urbanization and the industrial revolution. The relationship between the community and the police force was at its worst. The reform era happened over fifty years between 1930 and 1980, when activists tried to spate politics from the police service to ensure that they serve people regardless of their political affiliation. The era reorganized how the police operated and ensured that all their relationship with the citizens was enshrined in the law. The third and most significant phase of police history is the problem-solving era, where the police were supposed to improve their relationship with society.

The homeland security era is the last phase of history and focuses on resources and how they can be used to prevent crime and ensure that the law is enforced to the letter. In all of history, recruitment, and retention has been the biggest challenge. Further, the recruitment of minorities and women into the police force affected how people related to society. Innovation is, therefore, key to ensuring that the recruitment and retention strategies are applied to have police recruited in the right proportions to represent diversity. The world navigates the information age. Most of the information is available on the internet. Actions against the will of the people lead to demonstrations. Technology advancements have further improved the recruitment process, and the feedback mechanisms provided by technology are likely to improve the retention of the police department.

Ethical Issues

Employment of Women into the Police Force

Diversity is critical to improving the service delivery in the police force and the entire criminal justice system—failure to give women and minorities fair representation in recruitment results in unethical practices. A diverse workforce forms a better police force to show cooperation with other members of society. If diversity is increased in the police force, the relationship between the police and the citizens is improved in the long run. Discrimination is practiced in the police force during recruitment since the women and men were exposed to similar training exercises, discouraging more women from joining the forces.

Further, the male-dominated cultures in the police force discourage women from joining the forces. They, therefore, make it almost impossible for the few females in the forces to be retained. The resignation letters received from the female officers are more than the male officers.

Employment of Minority into the Police Force

Minority representation in the police department is far less than in whites. The whites-dominated police force makes the other minority races resent the force and has a poor relationship in the discourse. Female officers have also experienced challenges that have affected female recruits. The key determinants that affect the recruitment and retention of women and minorities in the police force include external and organizational predictors such as discrimination. Motivation, attitudes, and recruitment strategies do not encourage the diversity of the teams. The attitudes that have been changing in the recent past affect more police officers and make them resign from working in other areas. Barriers in the screening process jeopardize the diversity in the recruitment of the police force. Addressing the issues will likely improve the quality of service the department offers.

The feminist theory is a unique framework to explain how conflict affects the maintenance of gender roles. Women play a critical role in the day-to-day running of families and society. If they are not involved in police management, the relationship between the police force and society may be affected by the perception created. The theory, therefore, suggests that perpetuating male dominance in the police force without considering the role of women is likely to affect the operations. Different racial groups residing in the USA, such as Indians, Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics, have long been discriminated against. Racial discrimination creates animosity between groups of people and makes their relationship deteriorates. Racial discrimination in the police force prevented the fair distribution of recruitment opportunities for minorities. Consequently, only the favored majority enjoyed recruitment.

The ambivalent prejudice theory explains the cognitive dissonance between people when they realize they have conflicting beliefs compared to other groups. The mixed feelings, behavior, and beliefs make the different groups despise each other and may eliminate the respect people have for each other. The hatred, therefore, jeopardizes diversity, and the police force is affected by the discourse. It takes people who respect each other to work together. The few minorities who have a chance to work in the police force are affected by racial discrimination, and some are forced to resign. Gender and racial discrimination are the key issues affecting the police department.

Proposed Plan

Negative perceptions about the police department affect people’s decisions regarding the recruitment process. When the perceptions are managed, people will likely make better decisions and serve the justice system with high patriotism and commitment to the process. Therefore, the initial plan is to deal with the perception and ensure that all people have a positive perception of the profession and a better relationship with the society in which it operates. One of the most appropriate plans is to formulate police academies to build patriotism. Further, investing in technology and social media helps the police force get the required feedback for societal decision-making. The recruitment must be changed to allow minorities and women to be offered chances to increase diversity in the team. When women and minorities have a share in the recruitment process, and the practices are customized to care for the women’s needs, recruitment and retention would increase.

Creation of Police Academies

Regular police recruitment introduces civilians to the police force through application and interviews, and those who pass are regarded as part of the police force. The traditional recruitment method makes the profession like any other ordinary service delivery work. It is imperative to note that the police force career requires passion and motivation to serve people better. When a person perceives it as a typical career for job security, there is a likelihood that the officer will quit service whenever a new opportunity arises. A police academy is a unique college where the law enforcement agency prepares people to be responsible officers in the long run. It prepares a person to become a responsible and patriotic officer because they are hired at a tender age. Their perception is changed and aligned with how the police officers are expected to behave in the discourse. The police academy can be the right place to teach about the six pillars of 21st-century policing to make the police officers aware of the challenges affecting the force and overcome them.

The laws regulating the police academies must be regulated to have women and minorities given a chance to be part of the officers serving in the police force. Having minorities and women offered specialized training, their perception of the police force will change, and their perspectives and service delivery will be made better. Since the installation of the official police training in 1908, the incorporation of academic and social principles in the police force helped police obtain the right skills and passions. Incorporating the skills and passion would increase retention and generate more interest for people to join the police force.

Adjusting Recruitment Laws to Increase Diversity

The employment of women and minorities in the police force is an antidote to improving the relationship with society. Setting a rule, say, one-third gender rule to preserve a third of the recruitment slots for the ladies and expose them to unique training principles for a better outcome in the discourse. Further, the increased diversity can be achieved through increasing the online presence for more people to be aware of the recruitment and simplifying the application process. Previously, the application process took a lengthy bureaucratic process, discouraging women and minorities from applying. However, reducing the bureaucracy and allowing people to apply directly from the comfort of their homes is likely to increase their interest. A multipronged internet technique helps people from all walks of life to interact with the police and makes it better to understand the police. When the recruitment process is made easier for minorities and women, it becomes easier to incorporate them into the service.

Intrinsic Motivation for the New Recruits

Resignation of officers from law enforcement agencies and loss of interest in the application process may be facilitated by a lack of motivation. When people join the forces solely for monetary gains are likely to shift loyalty whenever a new opportunity arises. However, intrinsically motivated people are likely to be more dedicated officers in the service. The police academies must be made so that the recruits understand the policies of the law enforcement agencies and find happiness in their job. The three critical prongs for intrinsic motivation include autonomy, mastery, and purpose. When police officers find purpose in their duty and have the autonomy to deliver the services, they are more effective and less likely to resign. Further, the increased satisfaction in the job encourages others to join the forces, and more people will want to join the church.


The police force serves an essential purpose in the criminal justice system. The main role includes law enforcement, ensuring law and order, and preventing crime. The police department has existed since its formation in the 1600s and has been evolving to ensure better service delivery. One of the most evident challenges is recruiting and retaining staff in the police force. Further, the relationship between law enforcement agencies has been in jeopardy because of the discrimination witnessed in the delivery of the services. Diversity is the antidote to improving the relationship between the police force and society. Further, intrinsic motivation, the formation of police academies, and investment in technology likely eliminate the agency’s challenges. Inclusive laws and policies cascaded with the recommendations by the six pillars of 21st-century policing are the keys to ensuring that all people are involved, and service delivery is improved.


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