Senior Law Enforcement Consultant and Professional Real Estate Consultant Brenda Goss Andrews.
What is wearing out police officers and what is also keeping prospective candidates from entering the field?
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many things to light, especially discrepancies in this field as more officers across the U.S. have been put in the spotlight as the nation seemingly kept a closer eye on police actions in the last few years.
According to federal labor data, the number of law enforcement workers, including officers and civilian employees, decreased by 4 percent between March 2020 and August 2022.
Other reports note that police officers have a higher burnout rate because of long work hours and moonlighting, not to mention being sleep-deprived, resulting in deep physical fatigue and emotional exhaustion, both major components of burnout.
Senior Law Enforcement Consultant and Professional Real Estate Consultant Brenda Goss Andrews told the Michigan Chronicle that given her extensive career in law enforcement, she knows how it can be on the other side of the badge. Nowadays, she likes to encourage the retention of police officers and let them know that they are needed and valuable.
“Recruiting and hiring have been a passion of mine,” Goss said, especially of African Americans in law enforcement.
Given her passion and enthusiasm for more people of color in this noble line of work, it is not lost on Goss how discriminatory practices have kept Black people away in earlier times when police departments were created and were known for being all white.
“The hiring of African Americans into law enforcement and promotional opportunities…was virtually non-existent for African Americans,” Goss said, adding that as police departments evolve and grow there is still a struggle felt throughout the country now to hire law enforcement and a diverse workforce at that.
Goss is using her voice and platform as the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) national president to inform others about employment opportunities.
NOBLE, formed in 1976, serves as the conscience of law enforcement by being committed to justice by action, according to its website. NOBLE has nearly 60 chapters and represents over 3,000 members worldwide including chief executive officers and command-level law enforcement officials from federal, state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies, as well as criminal justice practitioners.
The non-profit organization has a mission to ensure equity in the administration of justice in the provision of public service to all communities.
Goss said that she previously ran recruiting for the Detroit Police Department during a time when they needed to hire 200 police officers in one year.
“And we struggled and this was the latter part of the ‘90s,” she said, adding that it was not an easy task to recruit Black and Brown officers because of the long, tension-filled history of law enforcement. “We weren’t eager to join the ranks of law enforcement. So, this goes back to the beginning, kind of the beginning of policing. So, we’re not walking through the doors when I was recruiting. … So, you fast forward to now and it’s the same thing and then you add George Floyd, you know, and other tensions throughout the community.”
Goss said that it’s been a long journey in a quest and challenge to inspire and bring on a diverse workforce to the police department and while things have evolved and progressed, some things remain the same.
“So, those kinds of things have not changed,” Goss said, adding that an imbalance of pay across municipalities is also a factor for where officers go as in some suburban and affluent areas police officers are more prone to take a job in comparison to somewhere else. “That’s something that municipalities, you know, have to continue to work on and communities have to understand that you’re going to have to invest in public safety.… Because it is a difficult environment to recruit in especially for, you know, Black and Brown people.”
For more information visit noblenational.org.