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Hiring a Police Officer: Six Sigma Brings a New Approach

police officer, hiring, six sigma, 6sigma.us

Hiring a Police Officer

Hiring a police officer can be a lengthy and costly process. Unlike many traditional professional hiring situations, the process for hiring a police officer is lengthy and detailed. A hiring agency must go through a multitude of steps with excruciating detail to ensure they have a candidate that is suitable for service. These candidates are evaluated for their fitness in a numbers of areas, which include physical, psychological, moral and over all suitability to execute the duties of their office. The challenge is getting it right from the beginning. Each step of the process involves extensive man-hours to evaluate the candidate, along with funding to cover the expenses involved in the process. When you get it right, you have a well qualified candidate that will remain in a position for a period of time that allows the department time to recoup their costs. Get it wrong and a significant amount of time and money have been needlessly wasted. Especially in today’s environment, where the costs of hiring and training are magnified by the potential liability involved in hiring someone who is not the right fit or reckless. It is a risky business and agencies are operating within tight budget constraints. It seems the perfect opportunity for Six Sigma.

Getting It Right

Six Sigma practice has been spreading across various industries and producing results that are significant. Governmental agencies have embraced Six Sigma and are achieving results that are mirrored by the private sector. However, applying the Six Sigma methodologies to law enforcement, specifically the hiring process, has been almost unheard of. Recently a department in the midwest tapped into the strength of Six Sigma to overcome the challenges of hiring for their department. The chief understood the advantages of Six Sigma and engaged a consultant to evaluate and work with them on their hiring process, from first application to swearing in. The steps involved in hiring a new police officer are typically written tests, physical tests, interviews, background checks, polygraph tests, medical tests and board hearings. This process, depending on the agency, could take months to complete. Six Sigma consultants were able to come in and apply the methodology to refine these processes, without compromising standards or expectations of the department. To some, this might seem like an impossible situation to deal with.

Achieving Results With Six Sigma

The Six Sigma study suggested that the department take various steps to align the phases on a tighter timeline to cut down on the wait time between each portion of the hiring process. Once implemented, the hiring process recommended by Six Sigma consultants reduced the hiring process by 60-94 days. This initiative has produced significant cost savings for the department and the city, without compromising any portion of the exacting standards that apply when hiring a new police officer.

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