LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Researchers with Michigan State University are teaming up with police departments and experts around the country and globally to better understand staffing issues affecting the profession.
The competition for new officers is steep across departments, including here at home. Capt. Matt Kreft focuses on recruitment and hiring for the Lansing Police Department. He says police academy graduates often find themselves seeing multiple job offers.
“I liken it to a sports team almost somebody that’s very good at their sport and comes out highly regarded, with a lot of offers from multiple sports teams and colleges and pro teams,” said Kreft.
The competition sparked the interest of Jeremy Wilson, a Michigan State University professor and director of the Police Staffing Observatory. He said this new initiative is bringing together experts in policing from around the country and globally.
They will share their research and then study the different challenges in staffing, from the application process to retirement.
He said an in-depth look can offer the possibility reframing the recruitment and find other ways for departments to use their resources to best serve their communities.
“In a lot of communities where we’ve done studies and areas they think they are understaffed, we often find there’s often enough staff but there’s things that can be done to promote efficiency through deployment and work schedules”, Wilson said.
Wilson said that reframing will look different for each department. He said those tactics can also include civilian employees and expanding into new technology.
Wilson expects that many of the studies will track staffing and solutions for years.
Its also part of an already existing partnership between MSU and LPD.
Keaft said he’s excited to help by sharing tools from his toolbelt as well as learning from other agencies. One of those tactics is mixing recruitment officers with their community policing and outreach like their explorers program, leading to a larger academy class this year.
“We’re looking as many as 30, for an agency of our size that’s pretty massive,” said Keaft.