If I told you that the national law enforcement recruiting crisis could be solved with one decision, that any leader could make today, you would likely not believe me and I wouldn’t blame you. I’ve written and spoke about recruiting quite a bit lately because if we don’t get this right, a host of major problems will plague our agencies and communities for generations to come.
I have been very vocal about law enforcement making the mistake of focusing on “marketing” rather than on actual recruiting but it wasn’t until a recent conversation with a pioneer in the police recruiting space that I came to the conclusion that this can be solved immediately.
I recently spoke to Jake Peters, the co-founder of SAFEGUARD Recruiting, about their success in recruiting law enforcement. Founded and operated by retired law enforcement professionals, SAFEGUARD Recruiting is a lone wolf in the money making market called “police marketing” but the problem is that marketing was never designed to recruit.
I’ll give Jake and his company credit. They could have jumped in and made a ton of money selling website hits, tactic-cool videos and host other items but they decided to launch their company to SOLVE the recruiting crisis in the profession.
After seeing some of the unbelievable work they have been doing, I gave Jake a hypothetical question with a “worse case” scenario.
What if an agency needed 2000 cops?
Processes For Success
Jake explained that there are two factors for success and they have zoned in on perfecting that process. First, an agency must put processes in place to ensure that their conversion rates either meet or beat the national average. The conversion rate is the percentage of applicants that become actual recruits and the average is around 5%.
That means that if an agency needed 2000 cops, they would need 40,000 applicants.
That sounds impossible but for a few agencies I am familiar with, they are projecting to have that need in the coming years.
In this scenario, Jake said that they implement proven processes that include automation and training, in the hope that the conversion rate can push closer to 10%. By doing that, it is less work on the agency and saves them financial resources.
But let’s go back to the doomsday scenario…40,000 candidates.
I asked Jake if it was even possible and without hesitation, Jake said it wasn’t a problem. That may sound preposterous but if you listen to the episode, you’ll understand why he was so confident.
Clicks vs. Candidates
SAFEGUARD Recruiting has a slogan that our profession must embrace. While other companies are bragging about website views (through marketing efforts), SAFEGUARD simply sends them candidates for hire.
Honestly, the conversation blew me away and if you listen to it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
While I was excited to hear what Jake had to say, I am also a realist about a profession that can be very stubborn. This interview was about a drastic paradigm shift that I hope each of you will entertain. You won’t believe some of the success stories he tells and I encourage you to listen.
Dr. Travis Yates retired as a commander with a large municipal police department after 30 years of service. He is the author of “The Courageous Police Leader: A Survival Guide for Combating Cowards, Chaos & Lies.” His risk management and leadership seminars have been taught to thousands of professionals across the world. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy with a Doctorate Degree in Strategic Leadership and the CEO of the Courageous Police Leadership Alliance.