Police retention has been debated in the OIB comments section for years. The city trains them, they drop anchor for a while and then sail to other departments minimizing the investment. Acting Chief Rebeca Garcia is examining ways to maximize tenure.
From Brian Lockhart, CT Post:
Since April the city has been recruiting new police cadets through a campaign dubbed “Make the shift.”
Now, Acting Chief Rebeca Garcia is also looking into whether she can require new officers to stay for a specific period of time so the city gets its money’s worth from the costs of training them. On average, it costs up to $40,000 to train each officer.
… But the acting chief is now recommending Bridgeport impose a new contractual restriction on future recruits preventing them from transferring out of Bridgeport to other departments for around five years. She informed the City Council of her idea in April and confirmed last month to Hearst Connecticut Media that she still wants to do it.
Full story here.
How’s this? It works better in reverse:
STAY in Bridgeport and get a 9K bonus and promotion after 5 years
LEAVE Bridgeport before 5 years and pay a 3K Exit fee
The streets of Bridgeport are a harsh teacher but now you have value that exceeds your cost.
You’re ready for anything and that happens (wink) only in Bridgeport,
Do cops stray, Chief? Or do they just follow their personal instinct to serve themselves while pursuing a vocational opportunity as an officer of public safety for 25 years or so? Officers are generally part of a union that negotiates for them things like compensation, health and retirement benefits, nuances of overtime, etc. but does the public learn about what the City is up to? NO. And there is a negotiation underway right now.
Is this trial balloon, floated by the chief serious? Is it on the table in the current negotiations? Who is representing the taxpayer, the public who pays for the pseudo negotiation? And how prepared is HR, Labor, civil service, etc. to respond to the challenges imposed on the City by self-serving former officials who are now counting their days behind bars? That’s a question most appropriate for our “shrinking violet” Mayor Ganim who refuses to govern in an open or transparent manner and whose financial tracks are not easily accountable to the voters.. How does the City compare on legal expenses year in and year out? What are the causes of ever greater legal expenses? Time to look at the Charter and encrusted statutes? Time will tell.
Hire Bridgeport residents!
4 ways to keep good cops after you hire themThere are simple ways leaders can invest in new personnel to ensure they become veteran employeesApr 5, 2018
A revolving door of police recruits creates stress and strain on any law enforcement agency.
As the selection, academy and FTO training process can take a year or longer to complete, core personnel are at risk of burnout from covering understaffed shifts, while police training and equipment budgets are quickly depleted. Inexperienced staff may expose the agency to increased liability, while providing less than optimal levels of performance during the course of learning the job.
Just as a savvy mayor or commissioner knows that a big part of their job is to foster those elements that attract and retain residents to the community – such as a vibrant economy, good schools, access to quality health care, recreational activities and a low crime environment – savvy law enforcement leaders know it is their job to foster those things besides salary that attract and retain police officers.
Training doesn’t have to be costly; it just needs to be relevant and geared toward the officer’s interests.
Training doesn’t have to be costly; it just needs to be relevant and geared toward the officer’s interests. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Strategies to combat the recruitment & retention crisis
How a police department is taking an all-hazards approach to recruitment and retention
A slightly higher starting pay may attract a new employee, but it won’t keep them. As we all know, merely throwing money at an issue will not solve the problem. A good employee who feels like they would rather take a beating than come to work will not stay at your agency for long.
Let’s explore some of the things officers want from their police career and how law enforcement leaders can fill those needs.
1. VALUE AND RECOGNITION
Law enforcement is at many times a thankless profession so it is critical law leaders express appreciation to personnel. The results of good police work are often intangible, but that doesn’t make them any less valuable. There are easy ways to tell your folks when they do a good job:
Show your appreciation and recognize a job well done with a citation or letter of commendation;
Encourage peer recognition through Officer of the Quarter and Officer of the Year selections;
Reward employees and their families with a spring picnic or fall awards banquet.
Performance awards don’t have to be expensive to be valuable. Recognition may be as simple as a reserved parking place or an extra day off. Good employees are like good health – ignore them and they’ll go away.
2. TRAINING AND EQUIPMENT
If you want good officers who produce superior results, you need to provide them with training and equipment.
Training doesn’t have to be costly; it just needs to be relevant and geared toward the officer’s interests.
You should already know which of your employees has an aptitude for training. Send them to an instructor school. If somebody enjoys photography, there’s your crime scene tech. Work with your folks to match the training they want with your agency’s needs.
Once trained, make sure they get good, serviceable equipment.
Evaluate your agency’s process for issuing personal equipment. Do you issue equipment and uniform items, or do you provide a uniform allowance for employees to provide their own equipment? Can you improve this process to better fill agency and employee needs?
3. UNIFORMS AND VEHICLES
We take better care of things we are proud of and take ownership in. Is it time to consider upgrading the look and performance of your agency’s uniform? Are you taking advantage of today’s performance blends and moisture-wicking technology? If the answer is no, then consider doing so and letting your employees take an active role in deciding what the new police uniforms will look like.
Do you have a replacement schedule for your vehicles or are cars driven “until the wheels fall off”? Are new cars provided to officers or do they get hand-me downs from the top brass? Could their design use a bit of updating? These changes can go a long way toward making your employees feel invested with your agency.
Speaking of vehicles, consider assigned cars. Employees will take better care of them and it’s an attractive benefit for your agency to offer. Take-home cars and off-duty use are even better; just make sure you also have the accompanying policies that fit your agency.
4. PROFESSIONAL GROWTH AND CAREER ADVANCEMENT
No one wants to feel they are stuck in a dead end job. Cops thrive on a challenge, and most are every bit as competitive as professional athletes.
Specialized units such as traffic, K-9, SWAT, crime prevention, drug education, SROs and Honor Guard can help your agency accomplish its mission of service while allowing your employees to develop into well-rounded and knowledgeable law enforcement professionals.
If you are a small agency or have issues with funding, consider alternatives to full-time unit assignments such as part time/seasonal duties, collateral duty assignments and multi-agency task forces.
Validate and recognize your officer’s specialized experience with a unit patch, pin or service bar. Help your officers to see what their future with your agency can look like. Reward loyalty and seniority with merit promotions. And provide a fair, clear and consistent set of requirements for competitive promotion to sergeant, lieutenant and above.
Our employees are our most valuable resource. Give them the time and consideration they deserve. By helping them to become invested in your community and your department, you will greatly increase your chances of attracting and retaining top caliber law enforcement professionals.
About the author
Lt. Mike Walker is a 29-year veteran of local and federal law enforcement. He has served in a variety of assignments with a concentration in investigative work. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and is a graduate of the 247th Session of the FBI National Academy.
Sonny, time for your meds.
It wouldn’t seem that employee retention problems should be a terribly mysterious thing to understand — if not remedy — for capable management/leadership.
The basis of modern psychology — which is used in teaching/training and even, increasingly, in helping to address socially and even biologically-based mental dysfunction/mental illness — is based on reward-reinforcement theory. Reward a behavior appropriately/in a timely way, and increase the chances of the behavior being repeated. (Interestingly; punishment can be used to suppress (extinguish) a behavior — i.e., decrease the likelihood of a behavior being repeated — but not as effectively, in a long-term context, as withholding reward for the behavior…)
So: Why would Bridgeport police officers lose their desire to come to work in Bridgeport (assuming that it isn’t for the obvious risk to life and limb posed by any given day’s police duties in Bridgeport…)?!
It certainly couldn’t be for the comparatively low pay and benefits of BPD officers versus, say, neighboring Fairfield, or nearby Darien… Could it?!
And: If we look at the work environment — confused leadership situations (leading to intra-department contention and strife) within the department and with respect to City Hall and the BOPC — we couldn’t interpret that to be “unrewarding”… Could we?!
And, of course; there shouldn’t be any correlation expected between officer-retention and the “unrewarding” relationship of the BPD with the socioeconomically-besieged Bridgeport populace… Should there be?!
No, interim-Chief Garcia. You can’t “force” officers to stay in Bridgeport by contract. In a city like Bridgeport, the situational loopholes defined by being a police officer deployed to gang-controlled streets to protect a distressed urban populace, on the backdrop of a dysfunctional city government administering a dysfunctional BPD, would only present a bigger cash-cow for labor lawyers than does the present labor climate for rank-and-file public servants in Bridgeport…
It seems that the way to retain BPD officers, long-term, is to first, hire officers that won’t frequent after-hours clubs and lose important job-related ID and equipment (better screening…). Second; create a truly-competitive compensation package… Maybe there needs to be a serious commitment from the state and federal government to assure this for Bridgeport — and all of the “Bridgeports” in the country (in a permanent context). City Hall! GA delegation! Federal delegation! Anybody listening?!…
Also: Reinstitute real COMMUNITY POLICING such that the unrewarding, contentious, police-community relationship can be replaced by one of mutual trust and respect… There was a time, not so long ago, when things were heading that way (albeit, somewhat slowly) in Bridgeport. The situation has since accelerated in the opposite direction…
But, admittedly, the above ideas are simply not realistic for our near-dead city. There would have to be a healthy, focused City Government, with focused, capable leadership, overseen by an informed, involved, socioeconomically-healthy Bridgeport electorate, in order for the above, cited measures to be implemented. As things now stand; the present and future condition of the BPD seems to be just another situation in our city indicating a state, administrative/fiscal take-over…
Happy Bicentennial, Bridgeport!
Lennie yours is the best comment regarding Jimfox’s post and the next best is Jeff’s!
No one however, has addressed the primary issue of the day and that is how to do anything to improve things while keeping the focus on the most important “defund police” theories!!!
Seriously though, in the 70’s and 80’s cops who were promoted were then shipped off to Babson to learn “management” skills. Professors there told them that they were “stupid” because when the shit hit the fan with high crime, riots and other similar issues, they asked for equipment. Better cars, pepper foggers for riot control, better uniforms, more recognition such as “hash tags” on their sleeves to show everyone their vast experience for every 5 years of service as indicated by the number of stripes on their sleeves. etc etc. etc.
Then he told them that what they should have asked for and demanded was better pay and benefits. I don’t know what these management classes teach today but I think anyone who seeks out the “serve & protect” jobs in these times, without a great pay and benefits package needs to be scrutinized by shrinks extremely carefully!!!!
Oh and just so you know, basically, getting picked to go to the FBI academy usually means you are a “favorite son”. If you think that politics and favoritism doesn’t play a MAJOR role in many (not all) promotions then you were in fact born yesterday so the first thing you can cancel out on Lt Mike Walker’s list is the recognition part!! Unit patches, pins, and service bars!! Lol! I left all of mine in my locker when I retired!
Never wore them either.
Garcia is just providing lip service to whomever because it is one of the topics of the day.
Just another slug eating from the trough of The Taxpayers!
Lol! Pretty much! 👍
Or we can begin by having the city and citizens protect their cops from frivolous claims that taint their name. Nothing is more valuable than their reputation. By allowing media outlets like Hear Media write stories without challenging their allegations on a public forum, it’s damaging. It’s damaging to the confidence of the cop, it’s damaging to the confidence of the city, and many times their actions are inevitable because of the environment sustained by Bridgeport.
My take, for the ones who have done something wrong and they truly were found to have violated their oath, then yes let them rot. They made their bed.
But for the other 90% of cops who are constantly being accused of wrong doing for merely wearing the badge, grow a backbone, and support them.
I’m not talking about Lennies forum, he’s always been fair in my view when it comes to these topics, and writes what he knows that’s fair. This is geared more towards major local outlets. How can we expect “career growth” when these cops are subjected to allegations of nonsense constantly
Question, what’s the best way to fight crime? Prevent it from happening, I have not seen anyone saying that the citizens should be asked what are your needs for police protection. Who were the first police in America, slave chasers, they were employed to track down and return escaped slaves to their enslavers. Police departments have been taught to occupied communities the areas were the crime is without any dialogue with those communities and those on that community reports police gone wild no one believes them so why should they trust and call the police for protection.
Really Ron? Wow times have changed drastically then. You must know to make a statement such as you made. Back in the day my squads which were street crime and narcotics worked all the high crime areas. We made a tremendous amount of mostly felony arrests. We made a few arrests every day, per shift – times 365 days, you figure it out- which were mostly for drug dealing, weapons possessions and violent assault type crimes. (Plain clothes units so we didn’t patrol in uniforms in marked cars therefore we didn’t handle calls- we hunted for acts of crime.) We worked very closely with the good citizens in those communities to help them and their neighborhoods, meetings, social functions, neighborhood rally’s etc. – so for you to say what you stated, the departments must be doing it wrong now. Or is it just Bridgeport? The good citizens in those neighborhoods appreciated seeing us do what we did in getting those dangerous hoods off the street albeit temporarily. Who is responsible for that shift in policy? Do you have any answers to improve the situation? Please help everyone understand a bit more clearly what needs to be done by sharing your ideas and knowledge. Keep it relevant to modern times please.
Overseer, Overseer Overseer OFFICER! Hummm. 🤔🤔
The discussion here is about running the BPD, as we all know history has a habit of repeating its self. The issue of police, race and funding was address with the Kerner Commission.
With the nation reeling that summer, President Lyndon B. Johnson created a task force to explore the roots of the unrest and possible remedies. The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, led by Gov. Otto Kerner Jr. of Illinois, released a report in February 1968. Known as the Kerner Commission, its findings still echo across the land, wracked once again by turmoil turning largely on uneasy relations between black communities and police departments.
The report offered a conclusion that was deliberately worded to be head-turning: “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white, separate and unequal.” The report left scant doubt that it regarded white racism as the tinder igniting those 1960s fires.
Watch this video and see what was going on in America in 1967 compare to 2021, 54 yeas ago.