For careers in public safety, an all-too familiar challenge lies in the need for more efficient, cost-effective recruiting and hiring processes. This issue may be most pressing in law enforcement. In most cases, hiring just two to three police officers requires the thorough, time-consuming evaluation of at least 200 candidates. What is more, each hire takes the better part of a year to complete. Three to six months are allotted for screening and selection, and the subsequent training and education of recruits adds three to four more months. Because of the length of the process, top candidates often secure alternative positions in the field, and reject hiring agencies’ offers. Meanwhile, departments incur unbudgeted overtime expenses required to cover gaps in staffing; this squeezes funding and puts additional stress on public servants in highstakes occupations.
However, this trend may be only a symptom of a more fundamental problem. And the solution may rest within K–12 and higher education.