Evidence-Based Approaches to Law Enforcement Recruitment and Hiring

by Carl F. Matthies

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Abstract

Recruiting diverse, qualified candidates is a continual challenge for law enforcement. With the downturn in the economy came a flood of applicants, but also, eventually, slashed funding for recruitment and hiring. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has felt the recession keenly: Its advertising budget was cut by 60 percent in fiscal year 2009, and, in 2011, the Los Angeles City Council approved a three-month hiring freeze. The LAPD, and law enforcement in general, can clearly benefit from evidence-based approaches to evaluating recruitment programs and streamlining the application process. Using LAPD and city administrative data from fiscal years 2007 and 2008, the author estimates impacts — in terms of applicant numbers — for LAPD's recruitment efforts and proposes a revised model for prioritizing applicants. While the results of these analyses may be of particular interest to LAPD, the methods employed, as well as those recommended for future studies, are applicable to any law enforcement agency interested in attracting and identifying high-quality applicants more efficiently.

This document was submitted as a dissertation in June 2011 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Nelson Lim (Chair), Paul Heaton, and Greg Ridgeway.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation dissertation series. PRGS dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a PRGS faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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