05.13.2024 | GREG SHEEHAN

Competitive Advantage in Recruitment and Retention


Law enforcement as a profession is at a crossroads as more officers are leaving the field through resignation or retirement. With fewer qualified and interested candidates than ever before, law enforcement leaders must adapt to the modern landscape of police recruitment while also rising to meet society’s ever changing expectations. Here we explore how law enforcement agencies can gain a competitive edge in recruitment and retention by prioritizing the ongoing growth and skill enhancement of their officers.


Persistent Retention Challenges

Keeping the best and brightest officers has always been a challenge in law enforcement. However, recent world events have exacerbated this issue and brought many law enforcement agencies’ personnel problems to a crisis level. Research by the Bureau of Justice Assistance and Office of Community Oriented Policing Services identified several influences that determine law enforcement job satisfaction and organizational commitment – or lack thereof. Their findings generally established that a lack of job satisfaction and organizational commitment were critical threats to officer retention. Addressing these institutional issues is key for any agency focused on reducing turnover.


Evolving Recruitment Challenges

Law enforcement leaders face a multitude of recruitment challenges, including a shrinking applicant pool, heightened public scrutiny, and recent negative perceptions of policing. The demanding nature of the profession and a competitive job market offering attractive alternatives has deterred many individuals from pursuing law enforcement careers. These factors create a recruitment landscape where law enforcement agencies struggle to attract a sufficient number of diverse, qualified candidates who embody the values of professionalism, integrity, and public service.


Professional Development as a Strategic Imperative

Investing in the development of officers stands as a strategic imperative for law enforcement agencies. High quality and frequently recurring training supports law enforcement officers by equipping them with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to navigate complex situations effectively. Moreover, the investment in ongoing professional development ensures that officers stay abreast of evolving laws, tactics, and community needs. Law enforcement officers who feel supported by their agency, are regularly presented with opportunities for personal and professional growth, and who feel there is potential for career advancement will exhibit higher job satisfaction and organizational commitment while remaining more engaged and invested in their roles. This, in turn, can reduce turnover rates and the costs associated with the recruitment and training of new personnel.


Attracting Top Talent

In a competitive recruitment landscape, a robust training and professional development program serves as a compelling recruitment tool. Potential candidates are often attracted to law enforcement agencies that offer more opportunities for personal growth and career advancement through ongoing skills development. By showcasing a commitment to investing in their personnel, law enforcement agencies signal to prospective candidates that they support their officers and want to prepare them to make valuable and meaningful contributions to the agency’s public safety objectives — factors that can significantly sway recruitment efforts in their favor.


Gaining a Competitive Edge

In a profession where competition for the best talent will continue to be fierce, law enforcement agencies that prioritize training and professional development can gain a distinct competitive edge. Law enforcement agencies that consistently invest in their officers can increase their ability to attract top talent and retain experienced personnel, fostering higher morale and a more committed workforce. This strategic advantage sets them apart from agencies that neglect the development of their personnel, positioning them as more desirable employers and better community partners.


Where to Devote Limited Resources

Too often, law enforcement organizations prioritize the recruitment of new talent while dedicating little to no effort toward ensuring that experienced officers maintain high levels of job satisfaction and organizational commitment. The retention of law enforcement officers must come first as it is less expensive, ensures operational continuity, promotes a healthier workplace, and sets a higher performance standard. Through continuous investment in retention efforts, law enforcement agencies can develop a more professional culture that prospective candidates will perceive as more attractive and better suited to their own individual career goals.



In their continued pursuit of excellence, law enforcement leaders must recognize the pivotal role that training and professional development play in both their recruitment and retention efforts. By investing in their officers’ personal and professional growth through ample opportunities for skill enhancement, law enforcement agencies can cultivate a competitive advantage in their search for top talent while strengthening retention and their capacity to effectively protect and serve their communities.

TRULEO is a CJIS-compliant SaaS solution, built on a proprietary audio analysis engine that automatically categorizes all of your department’s body-worn camera (BWC) data enabling leaders, trainers, and public information officers to highlight positive interactions and promote exemplary performance. Our mission is to improve trust in law enforcement by leveraging state of the art BWC data analysis technology to streamline operations, mitigate risks, enhance legitimacy, and facilitate individualized recognition to increase morale, ignite performance, and celebrate police professionalism.


About the Author

Greg Sheehan is the Director of Training at TRULEO.

He retired from law enforcement as an Inspector of Police after twenty-seven years with the New York City Police Department, having served in multiple capacities including Program Director of the Police Academy. He is a graduate of the Police Management Institute at Columbia Business School and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University where he was the Richard L. Gelb scholar in public administration. His interests include public safety training and body-worn camera analytics, topics that have allowed him to identify and deploy scalable solutions to today’s toughest law enforcement recruitment, training, and retention problems. For questions or comments contact him at greg@truleo.co.




“The ability to measure a police officer’s level of professionalism and readiness to de-escalate should be required risk management for every Chief of Police.”

"From command staff to front-line supervisors to the officers on the front line. They all bought into the mission and leveraged BWC analytics as a coaching tool to help us create better outcomes with our community."