Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) espouses the following Core Values: Respect for People, Service to Our Communities, Reverence for the Law, Commitment to Leadership, Quality Through Continuous Improvement, and Integrity in All We Say and Do. As the LAPD and the Personnel Department of the City of Los Angeles engage in an aggressive recruitment campaign to augment the ranks of police officers, the Department remains committed to engaging in the type of efforts to ensure that our personnel are of the highest caliber.
Over the past several months, there have been public reports and commentaries by some, criticizing the Department’s recruitment process. In fact, recently, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, in a press release, issued a "Four Point-Plan" which they represented would improve recruitment efforts by the Department and the City.
Point One: Streamline the application process for new recruits – essentially create a one-stop shop.
Department Response: While it is unclear exactly what the LAPPL means by "streamlining the application process", it should be noted that the current process consists of the applicant taking a written test. If the applicant passes the test, the next steps are an oral interview, a physical agility test, a psychological test and a background examination. This is the standard for law enforcement agencies. While the LAPD’s background examination process is an exhaustive one, the Department does not believe that this is an issue that is up for compromise. In fact, the Department’s stance on this issue was reaffirmed in the recent LA County Grand Jury Report, dated June 26, 2001, which states that changing the standards to allow a larger percentage of applicants to succeed in the process, was not an acceptable option. The Report opined that the Department’s current standards were appropriate. It should be noted that there does currently exist a "one-stop shop" for recruitment. That entity is the Personnel Department for the City of Los Angeles.
Point 2: Audit LAPD exit interviews to determine the causes of both probationary and non-probationary resignations.
Department Response: The Department has been engaging in this practice for the past several years. It is as a result of the information gleaned from these interviews, that we are able to note the many reasons for which officers choose to resign from the Department. These reasons include more money, better benefits (i.e., vacation, health benefits, tuition reimbursement, etc.), better pension plan (i.e., pension plan that is fully funded by the agency/City), employment closer to home, compressed work schedule, relocation [to another part of state of country], better opportunities and disciplinary reasons. It should be noted that many officers resign from the Department while being investigated by the Department for issues of misconduct. During the exit interview process, they cite "personal reasons" for leaving.
Point 3: Conduct a best practices study of law enforcement agencies that do not experience problems with recruitment, such as the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD).
Department Response: It is axiomatic that recruitment is an issue that is not LAPD specific but rather, a problem that plagues law enforcement agencies nationwide, albeit some more that others. A November 25, 2000 New York times article identified the recruitment and attrition concerns in law enforcement. The article talks about the difficulties facing the New York Police Department (NYPD) in their quest to recruit officers. The number of persons taking the test to become police officers in New York have fallen precipitously in recent years, according to the article. One of the reasons cited for the decline is the thriving economy, which has made it harder to lure candidates.
A July 1, 2001 Daily News article brought this concern closer to home when it highlighted the police officer shortage in the Glendale Police Department, forcing them to have to ". . . juggle shifts and put officers on overtime in order to keep patrols at acceptable levels." The acute nature of the recruitment/retention issue becomes even more pronounced when you consider the fact that beginning today, the California Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) committee will be hosting a symposium, with the entire focus being on recruitment, retention and hiring issues, statewide.
Within the next few weeks, the Department will put into operation its Recruitment Division. This will allow us to place our background investigative process and our recruitment process all under one command. This will undoubtedly enhance our effectiveness in both areas. The Chief of Police, the Los Angeles City Council and the Mayor have already approved the implementation of this new division. Additionally, the Department has been working very closely with the City of Los Angeles Personnel Department on devising a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the recruitment and hiring process for police officers. It is important to note that, despite the recent criticisms by some of the Department’s recruitment process, it is the LAPD’s [recruitment] Best Practices which will be presented on the final day of the symposium.
Interestingly enough, a recent LA County Sheriff’s report revealed that the Sheriff’s Department was down by approximately 500 sworn positions, further underscoring the recruitment/retention issues in law enforcement.
Point 4: Develop a partnership between the LAPD and the LAPPL to collaborate on recruitment issues.
Department Response: The Department would like to take this even further by encouraging the League to work with us on addressing ALL relevant issues, not just those involving recruitment. Up until a few months ago, the League, in its newspaper, advertised for police officer vacancies with other law enforcement agencies. We were happy to see the League cease this practice, once the Chief of Police met with current League President Mitzi Grasso and expressed concerns over this practice. Los Angeles Chief of Police Bernard Parks, within a month of League President Mitzi Grasso taking office in November 2000, met with her and enlisted the League’s support on how the Department and the League could best work as a team to address issues of recruitment. The Department is pleased that the League has now agreed to this concept.
Deputy Chief Michael Bostic, Commanding Officer, Human Resources Bureau, underscored the Department’s willingness to work constructively with the League, stating, "The Department welcomes this offer by the League to work together on pertinent issues of interest. During the recent City Council Budget Hearings for the Department’s new Recruitment Division, Lieutenant Ken Hillman, a League Director, supported the Recruitment Division concept."
This press release was prepared by Lieutenant Horace Frank, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.