skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 163746 Find in a Library
Title: Big Blue Hiring Spree
Journal: Governing  Volume:9  Issue:4  Dated:(January 1996)  Pages:28-31
Author(s): C Mahtesian
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 4
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The public wants more police, and cities are responding by going on a hiring spree, but in some places the rush to put more officers on the street has brought corruption and racial strife.
Abstract: With the help of Federal subsidies provided by the Clinton administration's 1994 crime bill, the number of police officers nationwide is expected to increase by more than 100,000 over the next 6 years. This effort has some potential problems, however. Too often a rush to put more officers on the street has significantly undermined the quality of individual police departments. Also, the attempt to meet the twin goals of hiring and diversity tends to widen racial divisions within a force. Further, there is always the practical issue of whether more police correlates with less crime. Within law enforcement circles, any discussion of the hazards of "binge" hiring begins with the experiences of Miami and Washington, D.C. In an effort to hire more officers in a short period of time, both departments lowered admission standards, expedited or haphazardly completed background checks, and cut corners on training in order to meet hiring goals and timetables. Large numbers of unprepared rookies were thus rushed into service. In both departments, the officers employed during periods of "binge" hiring were involved in criminal and corrupt behavior. In Houston, the faster the police department has moved to diversify its personnel, the more racially divided the police force has become. From the time a potential applicant first meets a Houston police recruiter to the time when that individual takes a test for promotion or higher rank, the officer becomes part of a race and gender-based bean- counting contest that has left the officers themselves splintered into a handful of different interest groups, ranging from the two most broadly constituted officer organizations, the Houston Police Officers Association and the Houston Police Protective Union, to smaller, ethnicity-based groups such as the white officers, the Afro-American Officers League, and the Organization of Spanish-Speaking Officers. Although an increase in police personnel does increase public perceptions that the community is safer, this may bring more problems than the police agencies and the public expected, unless planning takes into account the speed with which hiring is done and the qualifications of the people selected.
Main Term(s): Police personnel selection
Index Term(s): Minority police recruitment; Police corruption causes; Police effectiveness; Police planning
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.