Law Enforcement Today

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As one may correctly assume, law enforcement agencies face multiple issues in today’s society. There are many stressors in police work. Much of the stress associated with police work comes from recruiting and retaining police officers. One of the chief stressors of recruitment and retention flows from the nature of our diverse societies. Both the U S. and Canada have significant ethnic populations living within their borders. In areas of each country with non-English speaking minorities, police departments stress the importance of having officers that have the ability to investigate a crime or deal with a victim in his or her native language. Further, it is a complex task to recruit police officers for diverse communities who are not only qualified, but also bring with them an awareness or connection with the community. Therefore, stress is high in departments that service significant non-native speaking populations. But as much as recruitment is an issue, so is retention of minority officers. As the U.S. and Canada are majority Caucasian countries, the retention of police minority officers is crucial. However, it isn’t easy. As recently as twenty to thirty years ago, the majority of recruits to police agencies looked to make police work a career. Now, younger recruits largely do not stay in the police force for a full thirty year career. More and more, new recruits stay in police work for five to ten years on average and then move to other jobs in the private sector. Clearly, retaining minority officers to police their ethnically diverse neighborhoods become even more of a stress to departments as fewer and fewer officers stay on the job. Almost as important as recruiting and retention are to police departments is the promotion process. Many factors determine the promotion of minority officers, such as size and influence of the local minority population, minority group political and organizational representation, affirmative action policies, slack resources,...
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