Date of Award

January 2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Michael Meyer

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Diverse police agencies that are reflective of communities they serve are vital to community-oriented and problem-oriented policing, and in repairing fractured relationships by establishing trust and a partnership with communities. Agencies that engage in community-oriented and problem-oriented policing also attract more female officers and officers of color. The purpose of this study is to describe how one police agency in the Midwest recruits, hires, and retains a representative agency, and to describe what factors are important in this process. It is a descriptive, single case study that uses triangulation of multiple methods, including quantitative and qualitative methods, and multiple data sources. The quantitative methods include composition data from 2009 through 2017, application data from 2009 through 2016, and separation data from 2010 through mid-2017. The one qualitative method, interviews of personnel responsible for the implementation and oversight of recruiting, hiring, and retention, provide detailed descriptions from the perspectives of those involved in these practices.

It is evident from the data that representation of females, officers of color, and officers who are fluent in languages other than English, has increased in numbers and percentages for both applications and officers hired. Factors responsible for these increases include the Human Resources Office and command staff prioritizing being reflecting of and responsive to the communities it serves, targeting recruitment efforts, setting goals for hiring and composition of female officers and officers of color, and implementing changes in their application process.

This study has implications for this agency, the communities it serves, and other agencies. This agency may use the results of this study to assess the future impact of its recruiting, hiring, and retention practices. This agency may also evaluate the future impact of increasing its diversity on the job performance of officers. Other police agencies who want to be reflective of their communities and engage in community-oriented and problem-oriented policing, can use this case study as an example. Also discussed are the limitations of the study and recommendations for future research.

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