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Blueprint for Law Enforcement Recruitment and Retention in the 21st Century

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2022
40 pages

In order to develop this blueprint for the recruitment and retention of law enforcement officers in the 21st Century, this publication provides a comprehensive framework informed by research, data, and examples of thoughtful action in the field to guide discussions in each agency on these important topics.


Four elements of a comprehensive officer recruitment and retention strategy are outlined. One element involves effective and equitable approaches for expanding the pool of officer candidates. This consists of actions that proactively engage with and attract candidates who are representative of the communities the agency serves. A second element of the blueprint is the identification of the best candidates during screening and selection. This requires that selection processes broadly identify candidates who have the important traits and qualities needed to be a successful and productive officer while also effectively screening out undesirable individuals. The third element of the blueprint is the retention of officers who reflect the values of the agency and community it serves, and which are reflected in agency officer accountability and promotion processes. In promoting this element, agencies should systematically train, support, and promote officers who reflect the core values of an agency and the community it serves. The fourth element of the blueprint is agency development of officer wellness systems that serve officers and communities. This requires that agencies develop proactive wellness supports and early interventions available to and used by officers to ensure officer wellness and optimal performance in the field.

Date Published: September 1, 2022