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Insist upon rookie excellence

Agency leadership needs to trust the judgment of training personnel and deal with small problems before they become big ones

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Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today, I’d like to talk to my law enforcement friends about hiring and training the right people.

Think about it. The process scrutinizes every part of the applicant’s physical and emotional life!

The application process is just the beginning. After that, the applicant attends an academy for several months. Followed by months of field training. It might be an additional six months to a year before the rookie gets the final stamp of approval. All told, the new hire might have two years of their life invested. The department also incurs significant financial costs.

For the most part, we get it right. But sometimes, the need to staff open positions can blind administrators. I get it. These are challenging times and recruiting isn’t as easy as it once was. Sometimes the emotional and financial investment can make thinning the applicant pool or cutting underperformers a challenge.

However, small problems can quickly become big ones if you don’t insist upon excellence. Agency leadership needs to remain objective and trust the judgment of the hiring process, academy staff, and FTOs. If those folks notice a problem with a candidate or new hire, it could be an issue lying in wait.

Given the stakes, you need to trust the judgment of your training personnel and deal with small problems before they become big ones. You want the best of the best. Your community deserves it. Settling for anything less for the sake of numbers will only cause your agency problems down the road.

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off.

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Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.