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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.

This research was prepared for the San Diego Police Department and was conducted under the auspices of the RAND Center on Quality Policing (CQP), part of the Safety and Justice Program within RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment (ISE).

This report is part of the RAND monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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