By Kim Kohlhepp, Manager, Center for Testing Services and Career Development, IACP; and Tracy Phillips, Senior Project Specialist, IACP
he IACP has partnered with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), U.S. Department of Justice, to create a new Web-based recruiting resource called DiscoverPolicing.org. With its official launch at the 115th Annual IACP Conference in November 2008, DiscoverPolicing .org is reclaiming the image of policing and taking recruitment into the 21st century by offering a combination of clear and accurate information on law enforcement careers with a central platform for hiring agencies to reach and connect with applicants across the United States. Discover-Policing.org is fast becoming the premier destination for law enforcement job seekers and hiring agencies.
Need for a New Resource
Recruiting the right kind of officers, in sufficient numbers and who are representative of community diversity, is an ongoing challenge for law enforcement agencies across the United States. In a recent IACP recruitment survey, 70 percent of respondents indicated that hiring officers has become more difficult over the last five years. Law enforcement executives generally agree that staffing their agencies is the most important administrative responsibility they have and perhaps the most difficult. Meeting the other operational challenges, from property crimes to terrorism, depends on having enough of the right officers and civilian employees on the job. Military call-ups, limited budgets, and increased competition, among a myriad of other factors, have made officer recruitment more and more difficult.
Compounding these challenges is a pervasive public misperception of police work and the law enforcement profession. Young people in particular are inundated with images of the profession from the media and popular culture that are frequently uncomplimentary misrepresentations or are totally inaccurate. As a result, law enforcement is often not the first career to come to mind for individuals seeking socially responsible and meaningful professions.
Furthermore, the nature of police work and what constitutes the “right” people for the job is changing. Today’s law enforcement agencies seek diversity on numerous levels. Diversity now extends far beyond traditional racial and ethnic groups to include a host of other characteristics, such as religion, sexual orientation, and family background. Law enforcement executives also seek officers with a diverse skill set that will complement their community-oriented and intelligence-oriented policing styles.
Collaboration for Maximum Reach
The IACP and BJA have a long-standing tradition of delivering timely and responsive programs and services to the law enforcement community. DiscoverPolicing.org is another example of that responsiveness. With DiscoverPolicing.org, the IACP and BJA are providing a central platform and a national reach to the recruiting efforts of all law enforcement agencies regardless of size, type, or location.
Clear and Accurate Career Information
DiscoverPolicing.org offers a robust career information database divided into four easy-to-navigate categories: “Why Policing?” “What’s It Like?” “What Does It Take?” and “Find Your Career.” Here users will find a wealth of information about policing, including an outline regarding the benefits of a law enforcement career; examples of the variety of agencies and job opportunities; first-person accounts of the rewards of being a police officer; practical information on the skills and abilities needed to enter the law enforcement profession; and an overview of the hiring, selection, and training processes. Visitors to the site can also look up contact information for nearby agencies and access links to resources in all 50 states. Throughout the site, emphasis is placed on diversity and the true service-oriented nature of the job, demonstrating the pride and the nobility of the law enforcement profession.
Discover Policing Career Center
DiscoverPolicing.org’s built-in, no-cost Career Center provides a central place for hiring agencies and interested applicants to connect online. Registered employers can create dedicated accounts that allow them to post and advertise vacancies and browse candidate résumés at no cost. IACP members are validated automatically, whereas nonmembers must be validated by faxing in letterhead before posting jobs. Using the agency profile feature, employers can upload an image and input basic agency information, history, or benefits, thereby giving applicants a sense of their organization without ever leaving the site. Employers can arrange for interested applicants to apply directly to them online through DiscoverPolicing.org or link to an existing application process on a separate site. Employers maintain full control of their job postings and account information 24 hours a day, allowing for edits and updates at any time.
From the job seekers’ side, the Career Center offers job listings that are searchable by job function, agency type, and location. Candidates can post résumés (anonymously or not) and create job alerts to notify them when a position meeting their criteria is posted.
Vision for a National Recruiting Campaign
Originating in the IACP’s Image and Ethics Committee, DiscoverPolicing.org represents the cornerstone of a broad nationwide campaign to educate prospective candidates about policing careers and to recruit new and diverse members into the law enforcement community.
DiscoverPolicing.org truly connects employers and employees on an exciting new level for the profession. No other site on the Internet offers a more comprehensive window into police service. By offering such an extensive site, the IACP and BJA are bringing the policing community together and creating an information-rich destination for anyone seeking a law enforcement career, from young adults planning their future to those seeking a career change or completing military service.
See how the IACP and BJA continue to meet the call of duty by logging on to DiscoverPolicing.org today. ?
There are five easy ways to get involved in the Discover Policing initiative:
- Log onto DiscoverPolicing.org today and advertise agency vacancies at no cost
- Link to DiscoverPolicing.org from any agency Web site
- Submit a 250-word officer profile for the site’s Real People/Real Stories section
- Request DiscoverPolicing.org bumper stickers for agency cruisers
- Request DiscoverPolicing.org brochures to distribute to candidates who did not meet agency criteria but are still good candidates for police service
For more information or assistance, readers can call 1-800-THE-IACP or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.