There are nearly 76 million adult Millennials in the U.S. today. This makes them the single largest living generation, both increasingly culturally influential and a dominant player in the workforce. Any field that cannot attract and retain them will face a decreasing capacity to meet their mission, and increasing costs as their team’s age.
All of this is good news for law enforcement. This is a generation distinguished by its high ethical standards, flexibility, trainability, and willingness to work hard–provided they are working together toward a higher purpose (i.e., “they value purpose more than paychecks.”) In other words, they are almost ideal candidates for keeping peace in law enforcement. The trick is in attracting them, training them, and retaining them.
In a 2016 Gallup poll, 87 percent of Millennials reported that professional development and growth opportunities were significant factors for them. A 2016 Deloitte survey similarly found that Millennials–a demographic who are notorious for job-hopping–are most loyal to organizations that invest in training and encourage younger workers to set their sights on leadership roles. (The Millennials most likely to jump ship are those that feel there aren’t opportunities to grow and develop, or that they aren’t seen as having the capacity to grow into leaders.)
Using Law Enforcement Training Solutions and Technologies to Capture Millennials
Millennials especially respond to flexible and interactive training systems. As PowerDMS noted in a 2018 whitepaper, “hands-on, scenario-based training is … essential. When creating in-person training programs, law enforcement agencies should keep in mind that Millennials like to collaborate and work in groups.”
On top of that, they are incredibly tech-savvy workers. This isn’t just a matter of being a “digital native” adept at using technologies they have grown up using; they are early adaptors even as they age. In short, they are good at seeing how new technologies can be applied to help them learn faster, work longer, and get more done. Almost 60% of Millennials list an employer’s attitude towards technology (and, specifically, their willingness to adopt state-of-the-art tools) as a critical component when considering a position.
While police work is clearly more “old fashioned” than many fields (in terms of technology), there are places where a little technological investment can go a very, very long way (especially with Millennials at the helm). These include communication and collaboration tools, social media, and law enforcement training solutions.
This all fits with what Chuck Deakins has seen as lead subject matter specialist with FAAC’s Training Group. “It seems like the younger generation is more used to the technology and the gaming and all that. So they’re more comfortable getting in it. They’re more open to it, and it’s a highly effective way to train them up.”