Public Safety Hiring Practices

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Public Safety Hiring Practices


Gordon Graham
Category: Public Safety

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s tip is for everyone in public safety and it deals with hiring people for the wrong reasons

Your agency has hiring standards. Follow them.

I recently read a very interesting book, “How America Lost its Secrets:  Edward Snowden, the Man and the Theft.” Now, I know that Mr. Snowden is a controversial fellow. You might think he should be executed for treason. Or maybe you see him as a hero. We’re not going to debate that today.  

I read something in the book that can help us with public safety hiring practices. Mr. Snowden’s first job with the CIA was as a communications officer. The minimum requirements for this job included a bachelor’s degree. A 3.0 GPA was preferred. By the way, even less sought-after intelligence technology jobs required an associate’s degree.  

But Mr. Snowden never even finished high school. He did not meet the minimum requirements. So how did he get the job? We don’t know for sure. But here are some things we do know. Mr. Snowden’s grandfather was a rear admiral who had worked on a task force with the FBI, CIA, and DEA. He was still working for the FBI when Mr. Snowden was hired. Mr. Snowden’s mother and sister worked with the federal courts. Was young Edward the most qualified applicant? Or is it possible that his family ties may have helped him land the job? Who knows.  

But what does any of this have to do with public safety? Well, I bet every one of you knows of at least one person who was hired even though they didn’t meet the minimum standards. Perhaps it was a favor for a family member who worked for the agency. Or maybe the person was hired at the “recommendation” of the mayor or a county supervisor. Hiring someone as a favor who doesn’t meet the standards is a classic problem lying in wait.  

Your agency has hiring standards. Follow them. Don’t make exceptions based on the applicant’s connections.   

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham, signing off. 

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