American policing is experiencing a crisis of confidence, in part due to lacking and disparate professional policing standards. It is essential that criteria used to recruit and retain police officials consider the values and priorities of the communities these individuals serve. To bride this gap, Vera partnered with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) to develop and administer a national survey among human resources officials, police executives, local government officials and policymakers, and community representatives to examine the desired role of the police, the qualities of a good police officer, and the profile of a successful police executive. This work will provide great value to police departments and the communities they serve by helping identify the characteristics of successful police officers, managers, and executives.

Project Objectives

  • To identify what various stakeholders view as the model police officer and how those perceptions vary as a function of the stakeholders’ role. 

  • To understand whether beliefs about what makes a model police officer comport with currently existing recruitment and retention strategies across police departments. 

  • To ultimately use findings gleaned from the survey of model police officer characteristics to inform future recruitment strategies and performance measures across police agencies.

Key Fact

Among both police departments and community members, building community trust was consistently ranked as the highest priority for a police officer. This priority should be acknowledged in the structuring of recruitment and training efforts.