Cadet Recruitment Strategies
When the time comes to recruit your cadets, a word of caution: work out all the program details before you make your pitch. Kids ask questions -- don’t be caught off guard. It might also help to take along promotional materials. Check out JPA's new recruitment video and poster. The national office will even help you with artwork should you wish to have a custom banner made for the occasion. SMALL TOWN STRATEGY Here is some detailed advice from Officer Gary Richards of the Temple
of the people who live in the smaller towns work in Temple or at least spend a good deal of time there. For that reason we decided to offer the Academy to students in all of the nearby high schools. This may or may not be something you will want to try. We ended up visiting approximately eleven high schools. This gave us a larger pool of kids to choose from and increased our area of influence, but it also greatly increases the amount of time and travel needed for recruitment. “The next step was to contact each school and develop a point of contact for our needs. We then explained the purpose and goals of the academy and asked for the opportunity to speak to the students. The vast majority of the school administrators welcomed us enthusiastically.
Police Department in Texas. Gary was one of the first officers to offer the Junior Police Academy: “Like many cities in Texas, Temple is somewhat of a nucleus for several smaller communities in the area. Many
“We lucked out in a few cases and were asked to be speakers at Career Days. If you get this opportunity make sure to take advantage of it. Having the amount of time a career day provides allows you to get the students motivated and excited about law enforcement. If you give a good
presentation and then offer the academy at the end of the class you will usually be approached by several applicants. “If you can’t be included in the career day then ask if it would be possible to speak to the kids during lunch. Don’t try to speak to all of the students while they’re eating, but set up a table or booth where the kids can ask questions. “Have a banner or sign to draw the kids attention and ask the office to make an announcement telling the students who you are and why you are there. Lunch time presentations are not like career days where you have a captive audience. The presenter(s) must be personable and outgoing. Many young people are still hesitant about approaching police officers. It is our job to break down barriers and reach out to the youth.” Officer Gary Richards, Temple Police Department (TX)
FRAME THE PROGRAM TO YOUR AUDIENCE.
will always appreciate hearing that shared values are being
Meet the Parents
cultivated in our youth.
In many cases it is the parents who take the lead in enrolling their kids. So make it a point to mention the Junior Police
Pragmatic Pitch: More than Just a Feel-Good Program
Academy whenever possible during presentations to community groups. This is one area of the program that should not be overlooked.
Want to take a more practical approach when discussing
JPA provides your department with the opportunity to speak at
(justifying) the program? JPA’s mission can just as easily be
public gatherings. The JPA provides community affairs officers
defined in terms of its impact on crime. .
a fresh approach to delivering a familiar message.
Below we have paraphrased a statement originally made by
Tell members of the community about your experience as a
Commissioner Ed Davis with the Boston Police Department.
law enforcement officer in teaching the program and getting to
(The information about JPA was not part of his original
know the next generation of Americans. The older generation
statement, but this does furnish a pragmatic justification for community policing programs in general.)
Parents are not interested in police procedures. They care about values. Speak about the values inherent in police procedures and you will connect.
“CSI does not catch murders"
Building Trust Begins with Youth
S U G G E S T E D S TAT E M E N T B Y C O M M U N I T Y P O L I C E OFFICER TO COMMUNITY GROUP:
The kind of trust Commissioner Ed Davis refers to must begin early. Consider this statement from Patricia Lyle, retired Principal of Lamar Middle School, Austin, Texas:
"Ask any good homicide detective. They will tell you the same thing. You don’t catch the killer through CSI. CSI is helpful. But the truth is homicides are solved and the bad guy is caught because you, the citizen, tells us who did it."
“The students who have taken JPA have developed a relationship with our school resource officer that makes them feel comfortable going to the officer if there is a problem. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the students talking to our SRO after school. JPA has helped build trust and respect.
"If people don't trust us, then they will not tell us who did it, no matter what the case is. Every encounter that they have can either make or break the reputation of the police department. It can establish a good relationship or not with someone who may be a witness to a homicide, with someone who may hold information that is crucial to the biggest case that the police department works on in a particular time frame.”
“I think JPA needs to be in every middle school. I encourage all my peers to adopt the program.” Patricia Lyle
"Terrorism cases, homicide cases, kidnapping cases, they all hinge upon our ability to establish a trusting relationship with the community and getting that community to reach out to us when they have information." "That is why I am very proud to tell you about a program that helps build lines of communication between police and citizens like yourself. It's called the Junior Police Academy and I encourage you support this important educational program."
3 Rules for Recruitment:
“THERE WERE VERY STRICT RULES ABOUT WHO COULD AND WHO COULD NOT ATTEND THE CAMP. DISCIPLINE PROBLEMS AND STUDENTS ON CERTAIN KINDS OF MEDICATION NEED TO BE CHECKED OUT CAREFULLY. OF MAJOR IMPORTANCE IS GETTING THOSE LEGAL WAIVERS SIGNED.” O F F I C E R G A RY R I C H A R D S, T E M P L E P O L I C E D E PA RT M E N T ( T X )
1. Be Prepared for Strange Questions
(REGARDING ISSUES Y O U H AV E N E V E R E V E N THOUGHT ABOUT)
Cadets, parents and educators will all have questions regarding the Junior Police Academy. You need to have thoroughly thought through the details of the program so that you are not caught off guard. Ask your spouse or some other inquisitive individual to pepper you with questions about the academy well in advance of speaking to a live audience. You will be surprised what others want to know.
Legal Matters Most departments and school districts will insists that participating cadets have written permission from their parent or guardian along with a liability release form. JPA provides sample release forms that can be modified to your local requirements.
2. Screen Cadet Applicants One of the most important steps in developing a program is the process by which you select recruits. It is vitally important that you establish a written criteria by which Cadets will be selected. (If you have to deny an applicant admission, be sure that your criteria is applied consistently to everyone -- and in writing!)
Some programs require students with a spotless background. Other programs may want to reach out to youths-at-risk. Be mindful that the content of the course is largely teaching students law enforcement procedures -- typically the students that will most benefit are those who are mature and possess the capability to cooperate with police officers.
3. Momentum Recruitment should be one of the last steps before starting the program. You do not want too many weeks to pass between a student signing up and the program's start date. Remember, you need to maintain momentum. A young personâ€™s attention span is not in your favor!