*|MC_PREVIEW_TEXT|*Cost of crime | LAPD protest report | Scene management
March 17, 2021 | View as webpage
Leaders,

Police recruitment and retention was already a crisis when 2020 hit, but the events of the past year have exacerbated the situation. As police leaders, not only are you currently facing shrinking budgets and increasing demands for transparency, but you must also address unprecedented low morale among your troops.

Understanding why people join the law enforcement profession and the duties that provide officers most satisfaction is key to improving recruitment of new officers and retention of veteran cops and rebuilding morale.

These are just some of the topics Police1 addressed in its first State of the Industry survey, the findings of which will be discussed during a free webinar sponsored by Getac Video Solutions, scheduled for tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET. Reserve your spot to find out what 4,300 cops had to say about recruitment, retention and reform, including:
  • Why officers become dissatisfied with their careers;
  • The criminal justice reforms officers support (and those they do not);
  • How police leaders can use the survey data to improve recruitment and retention.
Register here.

P.S. Spread the knowledge. Share our leadership newsletter archives with your colleagues and encourage them to subscribe here.

Stay safe,


Nancy Perry
Editor-in-Chief, Police1

 
FEATURED CONTENT
Why cutting police dollars is a false economy
By Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D. 

One of the greatest enemies of law enforcement is a lack of data. Public pressure for police reform frequently relies on assumptions and misperceptions that are hard to counter even when armed with the facts. Leaders must possess and promote fact-based narratives to avoid being pressured into unwise but politically popular policies. Budget cuts, staff shortages, and calls for defunding or diversion to alternative responses are a threat to the bread and butter of policing.

How much does crime cost?

As violent crime rates skyrocket in some communities, police leaders can help the public understand that crime hits the taxpayer in the pocketbook much more than providing police services. For example, a murder can cost up to $7.8 million when average medical expenses, including mental health costs of survivors, lost productivity and income, public services, adjudication costs and defendant loss of productivity, as well as the quality of life costs as the effect of such a crime across society, are taken into account.

The immensity of the costs of crime – over 2.5 trillion dollars annually, based on a 2017 analysis, representing 3% of our gross domestic product – should be a red flag for governing bodies contemplating reduced funding for law enforcement.

Who bears the cost of crime?

The figures come from a recently released article from the Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis published by Cambridge University Press. The research was needed to update crime cost estimates that were over a decade old, counted only major offenses, and failed to consider the ripple effect of the costs to victims, institutions, workplaces, and society at large.

In the words of the report’s introduction:

“The costs of crime are borne by many different segments of society – starting with the victim whose loss often far exceeds the value of goods stolen or property damaged. For example, violent crime victimization results in medical costs, mental health costs, productivity losses, and less tangible quality of life losses. Some of these costs may be direct losses to victims, while others might be paid for in whole or in part through insurance, private hospitals through uncompensated care, or taxpayers.

"Additional costs may be borne by victim service agencies that assist these crime victims – often paid for partly by taxpayers. In addition to the victim, however, costs may be incurred by police or other first responders who arrive at a crime scene, investigate and potentially arrest an offender, in addition to the cost associated with courts and corrections. Tracking these costs can assist policymakers, insurance companies, and health care providers in assessing resource needs, comparing crime to other social problems, as well as comparing costs and benefits of crime prevention programs.”

As with any study, there are limitations. This report does not include crimes against the government or business such as embezzlement, fraud and tax evasion. It does not include the costs of crime avoidance such as burglar alarms and not doing business in crime-ridden areas. This is estimated in the analysis to have added another 50%-80%.

How are crime costs divvied out?

While it is tempting to speed read through the methodology and statistical sources to get right to the dollar figures, it is important to be able to answer critics and skeptics who simply don’t want to believe facts. But here are some numbers:

The study identified approximately 121 million crimes, noting that less than a quarter of offenses are reported to the police. Non-reported crimes are measured through population surveys. Comparisons with reported crimes is possible only for Part 1 crimes as measured by the FBI’s crime reports. Of the known crimes, there were 11.2 million persons arrested.

Rapes reported to police average a $400,000 cost, maltreatment of a child nearly $80,000, impaired driving crashes over $83,000 and drug possession over $10,000. The report’s charts parse out what expenses are incurred by the judicial system and which are absorbed elsewhere. The report also analyzes the cost of lost years of life due to crime, a calculation seldom considered in typical crime analysis.

There are many critics of police and corrections expenditures, as evidenced by reforms that are resulting in the release of offenders. Such measures may seem to be a cost-saving, but calculations of the cost of crime by offenders may refute the idea that release or lesser law enforcement is an economic advantage.

NEXT: Violence reduction needs policing

Minority applicants share their experiences during the police recruitment process
By Jennifer Beskid, EdD 

Members of commissions and task forces, politicians and community advocates have recognized the need for more diverse police forces for almost 100 years. In 1931, the Wickersham Commission determined there were conflicts between patrolmen and citizens that stemmed from a lack of cultural understanding by the patrolmen and the unwillingness of citizens to cooperate with patrolmen due to the citizen's mistrust. Over 80 years later in 2015, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing also identified the need for a more diverse police force.

In December 2020, an empirical research study was conducted with 15 minority entrance-level police recruits at two police academies in Maryland. The participants consisted of six males and nine females. The academies included recruits from municipal police agencies, as well as sheriff’s deputies.

In light of the difficulty attracting applicants to the law enforcement profession, especially minorities, the recruits were asked to describe their recruitment processes.

Motivating factors for applying

The majority of the recruits described the process as good. The most common motivator to apply to become a police officer was knowing someone in the hiring agency. The number one influence was having an existing relationship with the hiring agency and the top three experiences were employment as a seasonal officer, internships and ride-alongs.

This differs from existing research that depicts the generational aspect of law enforcement recruiting with applicants following a family member into the profession. Instead of following a family member into the profession, minority recruits applied because a relationship had been established with someone in the agency.

In an effort to attract more applicants, agencies may want to evaluate their personal relationships with potential applicants.

Balanced investigations, focus on the applicant

Two recruits described progressing through the application process with more than one agency. These recruits had applied to a combined total of 17 agencies, making it to the background investigation, and then receiving a rejection letter several weeks or months later.

Both recruits described finally meeting a background investigator who was willing to dig a little deeper, attributing a comprehensive background investigation as the reason they were finally hired. Their experiences raise the question, “Are good applicants being rejected because a reference provides derogatory information?” After all, the individuals providing the references are not being investigated and their integrity is not being scrutinized. The challenge is to make sure the investigation is balanced and focused on the integrity of the applicant.

Use technology to expedite applications

A few recruits described the hiring process as tedious, overwhelming and lengthy. Specifically, they found the process to be stressful because of the amount of information the application packet required, the polygraph, or the wait for information.

Existing technology can help expedite applications and streamline the process, yet agencies remain committed to a lengthy, expensive and burdensome process. The ability to expedite the process was described by female recruits in one of the academies. Other agencies were competing to hire them so the hiring agency fast-tracked them to prevent losing them to other law enforcement agencies.

A desire to be role models

Family and community influences were also important to the recruitment process.

Several of the male recruits described a desire to be role models for younger minorities in their communities. In addition to having a desire to be a role model, the recruits who reported the desire to be a role model also had the experience of leaving their communities for a period of time.

One recruit reported that when he returned from the military, he realized his potential to be a role model for youth in his community who might not realize there are police officers who look like them. Two other recruits reported a similar realization after leaving their communities for a period of time to attend college and work.

All of the recruits believed it was important to show young people that there are police officers who look like them. A few female recruits described being asked about their experiences to become police officers, realizing the potential they have to be role models.

The research did not focus on the current climate or attitudes about policing that has been prevalent in the media since at least 2014; yet almost all of the recruits described a desire to improve relationships between police and citizens.

Our employees are our best recruiters

Given the positive experiences described by the minority participants in this study, it may be time to build on the belief that our employees are our best recruiters, encouraging them to be a voice to family members, friends and every person they come into contact with who are curious about the profession.

You never know where an applicant comes from, one recruit had worked in customer service for eight years and decided to make a career change, choosing a profession where she felt she could give back to her community.

NEXT: Proactively recruiting in schools and minority communities

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3. Report details LAPD response during 2020 protests: Every single aspect of the response to these events was negatively impacted by the lack of crowd control training for officers and supervisors.

2. Scene management: The first 10 minutes after a multi-vehicle collision: Any line officer or front-line supervisor arriving first on scene to a multi-vehicle collision is faced with a multitude of initial scene management procedures.

1. How to buy incident management software (eBook): Download this Police1 incident management software buying guide to learn key steps for product selection, purchasing and implementation.
 
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