For years, the common refrain among frustrated law enforcement leaders and recruiters has been that there are simply not enough qualified applicants applying to be cops. In an era of low unemployment and plentiful job opportunities in the private sector, why choose a career in law enforcement with the stress, danger and public scrutiny that comes with it?
But in the last few weeks, in the face of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 crisis, men and women across the United States are facing staggering challenges in finding a way to support themselves and their families. In fact, there are entire industries within the U.S. economy that appear unlikely to fully recover for years to come.
If the past is any indication, economic downturns tend to correspond with a flood of applications for law enforcement agencies as applicants are harder pressed to find stable employment. Moving forward, the new challenges may be associated with a hiring frenzy and the crucial errors that often accompany them.
- Are you prepared to process and vet more applicants than your agency has seen in decades?
- How prepared are your people to conduct thorough background investigations?
- Are your people mindful of the long-term dangers associated with "hiring now and asking questions later"?
- Will you be able to make legally defensible hiring decisions that demonstrate that unlawful discrimination is not a factor in the hiring process?
Matt Dolan is a licensed attorney in the State of Illinois, who specializes in training and advising public safety agencies in matters of labor and employment law. His practice experience focuses on employment discrimination claims brought under federal law, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"). He received his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from DePaul University and his J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Matt serves as a public safety instructor with Dolan Consulting Group. He has trained and advised thousands of public safety professionals throughout the United States in matters of legal liability related to personnel management.