The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Division (SLMPD) has been home to a long lineage of dedicated and outstanding police officers and civilian employees who for more than 200 years have selflessly served the citizens of St. Louis, Missouri. Evolving from a four-man militia in 1808 to a force of more than 1,700 with a yearly budget of over $170 million, the department has experienced tremendous changes, challenges, and immense pressure, particularly after the acquittal of a white police officer charged with the 2015 shooting death of an unarmed African-American teen in the adjacent suburb of Ferguson. Sparking widespread protests in St. Louis and outrage across the nation, the tragic event placed a harsh spotlight on racial disparities in the SLMPD, where just one-third of its officers are non-white, while nearly half the city’s residents are black.
Recruitment and retention of quality police officers that are representative of the communities they serve, often those that suffer most from violent crimes, underemployment, drug trafficking, and discrimination, is a major challenge for 21st-century law enforcement agencies and the SLMPD is no exception. In addition to racial disparities, the department continues to grapple with officer shortages resulting in large part from a declining economic base, a shrinking population, and a public perception of the police force that limits potential candidates from considering a promising career in law enforcement.
With an agency-wide commitment to shift the status quo, restore community trust, and improve employment opportunities for young men and women of color, the City of St. Louis will embark on a bold new initiative to create a more diverse and culturally competent police force that exemplifies the undaunted spirit of St. Louis and ultimately serves as a source of great pride for residents. To support this work, the City of St. Louis along with the SLMPD and the Ethical Society of Police will partner with FUSE Corps to host for one year an executive-level fellow who will take the lead in launching an intensive recruitment program that over time results in a more diverse, well-trained, and unbiased police force committed to building a stronger, safer, more resilient and unified city.
Project Summary & POtential deliverables
The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables that follow will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the Fellow, and FUSE staff during the first month of the fellowship, after which a revised scope of work will be developed and agreed upon by the Fellow and the host agency.
Starting in September 2018, it is proposed the FUSE Fellow will take the lead in developing and implementing an effective and sustainable recruitment strategy that targets underrepresented groups in St. Louis, provides advancement and retention solutions for existing officers of color, and ultimately promotes positive interactions between residents and law enforcement over time. Commencing with a deep dive into past and current recruitment policies and procedures, from marketing to training curriculum, the Fellow will engage with stakeholders to gain a clear understanding of the challenges and limitations, as well as the critical and specific elements necessary to achieve and sustain the goals and objectives of the mission.
As a high-level executive with extensive experience in private sector hiring practices and minority recruitment, the ideal candidate will possess strong process and project management skills, with a solid background in marketing, communications, and community outreach, as well as experience in curriculum development, testing standards, and training policies and procedures. A familiarity with metrics and data analytics is desired but not required. The candidate will also demonstrate an understanding of how an educationally and culturally diverse workforce can help the SLMPD strengthen its relationships within the community, alleviate racial tension, and build trust between police officers and citizens, particularly those who feel increasingly alienated and disenfranchised. Finally, the selected FUSE Fellow will be passionate about supporting and assisting the community and its dedicated stakeholders beyond law enforcement.
- Address socioeconomic inequities: Conduct comprehensive landscape analysis to assess and evaluate department’s current recruitment policies, procedures, and documents including physical, psychological, and academic testing standards and training curriculum, as well as instructor competency and advancement processes within the SLMPD.
- Reform discriminatory policies and structural injustices: Identify and eliminate cultural biases toward disadvantaged groups to provide equity in training, employment, and advancement opportunities, while encouraging respect for all, regardless of race or gender.
- Develop and establish an effective recruitment program: Create compelling marketing, communications, and community outreach tools that target desired populations. Pilot programs in high schools and higher education institutions that create an awareness of and inspire young people to consider careers in law enforcement. Open new recruitment channels outside tradition pipelines such as college and community college campuses to increase numbers of qualified minority applicants. Develop solutions to retain candidates and current officers.
- Facilitate relationships with supportive partners: Establish internal and external partnerships with mentors, academics, and community leaders who can support candidates throughout the recruitment and training process, increasing chances for long-term success while reducing dropout rates.
- Report on short-term results and long-term impact of recruitment plan: Communicate progress with stakeholders, using key metrics and data to demonstrate success of recruitment strategy, from increasing the number of minority applicants to fostering peace and justice throughout the community.
- Jimmie Edwards, Director, Department of Public Safety, City of St. Louis
- John Hayden Jr., Police Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Department, City of St. Louis
- Richard Frank, Director, Department of Personnel, City of St. Louis
- Sergeant Heather Taylor, President, The Ethical Society of Police
- Ed Clark, President, Saint Louis Police Officers Association
- Alice Prince, Director, Louis Agency on Training and Employment
- At least 15 years of professional experience in human resources, hiring practices and minority recruitment.
- Superior critical thinking and analytical skills.
- Ability to synthesize complex information into clear and concise recommendations.
- Ability to relate to a wide variety of diverse audiences with strong emotional intelligence and empathy.
- Excellent stakeholder engagement skills and the ability to use facilitative leadership techniques to coordinate stakeholder activities.
- Self-motivated, goal-oriented, entrepreneurial leader who can also be an independent worker.
- Persistent in obtaining information and creatively resourceful in identifying solutions to complex problems.
- Ability to create direction and movement within potentially ambiguous
- Exceptional written and verbal communication skills with an ease in public presentations.
- Understands the need for solutions to support all people in a community regardless of race, religion, gender, immigration status, or ethnicity.