SELECTING IN Recruits: Identifying Traits and Characteristics Indicative of Florida Highway Patrol Training Academy Success

Law enforcement agencies across the United States are facing a shared challenge: recruiting and retaining qualified personnel in sworn positions. The public’s perception of law enforcement has changed with the proliferation of media reports and videos that exhibit questionable behavior from officers. Also, traditional methods of attracting applicants to the field may no longer be effective as more technologically savvy individuals enter the workforce. In addition, many law enforcement agencies may not be able to compete with private sector companies that can offer better salaries, stock options, and retirement plans. Furthermore, police duties have evolved to include many domestic security, intelligence gathering, and community policing functions. Finally, quasi-military environments, common in law enforcement, may not appeal to younger generations that have less automatic respect for authority.1 Combined, these issues create a difficult situation for the employing agency that is only intensified when candidates fail academy training and must be replaced. Alternatively, selectively hiring and training sworn members costs the agency fewer personnel work hours and financial resources. Reducing expenses is the critical benefit of recruiting qualified applicants and retaining experienced officers.