An Examination of Recruiting and Selection Practices to Promote Diversity for Colorado State Troopers

by Tracy C. Krueger, Sean Robson, Kirsten M. Keller

Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.5 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Research Questions

  1. What are the potential barriers in current CSP practices and policies to successfully identify, recruit, and select qualified troopers representing a diverse demographic composition?
  2. How can CSP mitigate and remove these barriers?

A guiding tenet of community policing is that trust and mutual respect between law enforcement and communities will more effectively address long-standing and complex public safety issues. One strategy to help establish such confidence is for law enforcement to adequately represent the demographic characteristics of the community it serves. Working to achieve this strategy can be challenging, however, because not everyone will be aware of, qualified for, or interested in a law enforcement career. The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) seeks to better reflect the demographic representation of the state of Colorado. This report offers an exploratory examination of how CSP's recruiting and selection policies and procedures relate to that objective. By integrating a review of CSP documents, interviews with CSP experts, and research and industry best practices, the authors identified potential barriers to diversity in CSP's early career stages and provide recommendations to mitigate and remove these barriers. This work is meant to act as a preliminary road map to assist CSP's future efforts in diversifying the demographic representation of its workforce. Barriers to diversity include the composition of the current workforce, the nature of the job, relocation requirements, and the lengthy hiring process. Recommendations include assessing propensity to apply, determining why applicants drop out, adjusting application windows, exploring strategies to shorten background investigations, and providing a realistic job preview.

Key Findings

CSP has enhanced its recruiting effort

  • In 2015, CSP replaced its in-house written examination with a professionally developed aptitude test.
  • In 2016, CSP transitioned from paper-based applications to an online system.
  • In 2016, CSP added real-time communication opportunities with CSP recruiters through the website's chat function.
  • In 2016, CSP designed and implemented the distribution of a standardized email to all individuals who express interest in CSP and provide their email address. This email communication offers a structured and systematic way to engage and communicate with potential applicants by providing an application to ride along with a trooper and preparatory materials for the written exam and physical fitness step.
  • In 2017, CSP removed the physical fitness test as a pass-fail outcome.

Diversity has increased, but barriers remain

  • Since 2014, there has been an average increase of 10 percentage points in racial/ethnic minority applicants and an increase of 17 percentage points in racial/ethnic minority appointees.
  • Since 2014, there has been an average increase of 3 percentage points in female applicants and female appointees.
  • Barriers to diversity include the composition of the current workforce, the nature of the job, relocation requirements, and the lengthy hiring process.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was prepared for the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and conducted by the Justice Policy Program within RAND Social and Economic Well-Being.

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

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.