The National Police Foundation recently completed a comprehensive needs assessment focused on recruiting and retention of police officers as a foundational step to assessing staffing needs. The five-month effort produced data-driven findings and recommendations based on department challenges, research evidence, and best practices from across the nation. On September 24, 2019, Chief Brett Meade (ret.), Senior Program Manager, provided a high-level presentation of the report, findings, and recommendations to the Santa Fe Mayor and City Council. For more information, please see the press release below issued by the City.
City of Santa Fe Releases National Police Foundation Report on Police Department Strengths, Weaknesses and Opportunities
Department Has Top-Notch Reputation, Faces Staffing, Recruitment and Retention Challenges
SANTA FE, September 19, 2019 – In early 2019 the City of Santa Fe asked the National Police Foundation (NPF) to provide an assessment of pressing personnel and staffing needs, and to make recommendations for how the department could improve recruitment and retention. The City took this proactive step in order to be able to work with unbiased assessments and to improve an already-excellent department.
“Throughout my administration, we have completed a series of assessments and eight audits across the city, as we continue to demonstrate our willingness to improve performance,” said Mayor Webber. “Our collaboration with the Police Foundation to assess our strengths and weaknesses, and to leverage their experience working with other municipalities, allows us to build on the work we have through the signing payments, retention pay, and pay increases.”
“The Foundation brings a wealth of knowledge and having the support and partnership of the Mayor on this has made it a valuable experience,” said Police Chief Andrew Padilla. “We already have an amazing community that supports our department. The City will continue to offer great benefits and competitive pay, all things we hope will help our recruiting efforts.”
The report includes the following findings and recommendations:
- The SFPD has a reputation as a progressive department that selects excellent recruits and provides them with top-notch training and equipment
- SFPD has a positive relationship with union leadership, and a new contract that provides raises and facilitates recruitment and retention
- Recruitment is a national problem hitting departments across the country; SFPD vacancy rate sits at about 30 vacancies
- Recommending better marketing, faster hiring process, and using civilians in certain positions
“Departments across the country are facing these same issues. Ours was exacerbated by the City of Albuquerque’s dramatic pay increase,” said Mayor Webber. “Some recommendations are easy fixes and others are a little more complex, but we are convinced we’re on the right track.”
“We are a young police department, with new officers, new supervisors and commanders,” said Chief Padilla, “and we are constantly evolving, learning and striving for the best for our police officers, their families and our community.”