Public Safety Personnel Recruitment And Retention

On Thursday March 30, the National Governors Association hosted its monthly briefing for the Criminal Justice Policy Advisors (CJPA) network. The briefing discussed strategies and best practices for the recruitment and retention of law enforcement, corrections, and first responder personnel. Other networks on the call included NGA’s Consortium of Public Safety Executives and the National Association of State Liaisons for Workforce Development Partnerships.

The challenge of recruiting and retaining public safety personnel is one felt nationwide. This trend is partly caused by the wave of retirements and career transitions following the emergence of COVID-19, as well as the transfer of officers to other jurisdictions, often driven by the increase prevalence of sign-on bonuses and other incentives. Meanwhile, states and municipalities across the country have experienced difficulties with finding and encouraging new recruits to come into the field. This inability to attract long-term qualified applicants has left the field understaffed and in need of additional support from Governor’s offices.

During the briefing, speakers discussed the scale of the problem, lessons learned from prior research, and what best practices should be implemented to support the public safety workforce. States then reflected on how these issues affect their public safety personnel and what ongoing efforts were initiated by their Governor’s office to address them.

NGA holds monthly briefings for Governors’ Criminal Justice Policy Advisors. Please reach out to Maria Kearl ( for additional information.