3 Tips for Onboarding New Police Officers
Congratulations on recruiting new officers to your agency! Whether it’s veteran law enforcement professionals or an officer beginning their first year on the job, agencies can do a few things to ensure the transition into the role is as smooth as possible. Here are three tips for onboarding new police officers:
Communicate the Vision of your Agency
One of the essential things police agencies can do is to ensure new officers understand the agency’s vision, mission, and values. This sets the tone for how they will approach their work each day.
A new officer should have an in-depth understanding of policy and procedure. Ensuring you have buy-in from veteran officers to model this is a key component in driving the vision across your agency from top down. Communicating your agency’s vision with new officers and the community they serve can help create a strong foundation of why an officer will show up each day to do their job.
Emphasis on Training
Law enforcement agencies across the Country face a myriad of challenges as they navigate how to serve communities in a modern way. With a national call for transparency around policing, equipping officers with the best tools and resources to do their job is critical.
Training for law enforcement officers has evolved over the years. Prioritizing what this looks like for new officers is critical as they enter a new role. Building department training that is engaging for new officers can motivate them to take the material they’ve learned and deploy it throughout the various function of their job.
As agencies continue to harness technology for everyday job use, including this as part of the onboarding process will help new officers get comfortable with the hardware and software they will be using daily. Training centered around everyday action like report-writing will enable new officers to understand the power of software that is centered around intelligence-led policing.
Leadership Buy-In on the Importance of Onboarding
Onboarding police officers is not a one-time event but rather an ongoing process that should be given the attention it deserves by leadership. It can often be easy for agencies to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget to invest time in bringing new officers into the fold.
What does this look like? Perhaps it is as simple as veteran officers sharing insights from a 20+ year career in law enforcement. When we asked veteran law enforcement for onboarding tips, they shared:
“Let new officers know that 30 years passes in the blink of an eye. Enjoy every minute of the career you did not choose but were called to protect and serve.”
Leadership should also consider how they can be more intentional about building community relations and creating an environment where new officers feel comfortable asking questions, learning from mistakes, and developing a network of support.
Onboarding police officers is an essential process for agencies to get right. By following these tips and creating a solid onboarding process, your agency can welcome new officers in an effective way that will build a strong department for years to come.
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