Hiring and Standards

An ongoing issue but one that is growing even larger is the difficulty that police agencies are having in finding qualified candidates to hire as police officers. This is especially true for smaller agencies who depend upon part time officers and not only finding those officers is difficult but also retaining them. True there is a different standard to get into the academy vs a standard to get employed. When we allow pre-service to apply we cannot set as strict of standards as may be set by employers. Even if we could what would those standards be? As an example jurisdictions have various tolerances when it comes to driving records. To set a stricter standard for the academy it would be necessary for all 597 agencies to agree on that employment standard. The ultimate fix would be to allow only employed recruits who have met the various employer standards to enter the academy. Obviously that has other ramifications such as the agency’s inability to afford the training and wages/benefits for the academy. We do weed out numbers of candidates who are pre-service upon application to the academy. There are others who meet minimum qualifications but we believe are not employable. In those cases we advise them, or the local academy advisory board advises them that they may have trouble finding a job. The achievable answer for today is money to assist agencies in putting their own candidate through the academy. Unfortunately that money is in short supply at MCOLES due to budgetary issues. We are working on that issue and I have made several presentations to the House and Senate appropriations committees detailing this issue. Also we are seeing a 77% placement rate for graduates and that does not reflect the ones that go out of State as we have no tracking mechanism for that. We are actually getting to the point where the open positions of the field are out pacing the numbers of graduates we are producing. Currently 60% of our officers in the State are over the age of 40 and 22 % are over 50. That would seem to set a pattern where for the next decade and maybe more all agencies will be facing continued turn over. It is a problem all over the country and why you see many large agencies such as Dallas and Atlanta recruiting in our State. In a recent article in the American Police Beat ,”Staffing crisis may lure retirees back to the job” March 2016, it described a legislative initiative in New Mexico that would allow retired officers to work as police officers. Currently the State does not allow for that and a Bill is pending to change that due to the shortage of officers currently employed. We are working on solutions much of which is hinged to money.


4 thoughts on “Hiring and Standards

  1. How is it fair that an academy will let someone through their process, pay over $6k, commit 16 weeks to the academy and then go on a job hunt and not be able to find a job because of the strict standards that departments are adopting?


    1. Hi William, the standards for the academy are a set minimum standard. There is no way for MCOLES to set individual standards for agencies. As an example different agencies have varying standards for the number of traffic violations they will accept and so on. We hope an encourage applicants to research different agency standards. In cases where an individual has a record that would not preclude them from the academy but we believe they will have difficulty getting hired the academy usually will inform them of this. As another example a conviction under the Holmes Youthful Trainee act ( HYTA) is not a preclusion to the academy but many agencies will not hire with that type of conviction so we tell the applicant prior to the academy.


  2. With the growing difficulty police agencies are having in regards to hiring qualified candidates in Michigan, MCOLES should adjust its hiring standards to allow people with high court midemeanor convictions (2 years and under) to be certified/employed.


    1. It’s not so much Mcoles that needs to adjust the way they hire but the departments themselves. I have some charges on my record, none serious by any means, and I am having a very hard time finding a job. It should be of your are Mcoles certifiable than you should be able to be hired by any Department. I don’t see why the departments should set stricter standards than what the state requires.


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