In the film Cool Hand Luke we heard the phrase ‘clearly we have a failure to communicate.’ With the Edmonton Police Service, being able to hang onto recruits might be an explanation as well.
A report to the Edmonton Police Commission says they lose about ten percent of recruits, partly because of communication problems that deputy chief Brian Simpson said stems from an officers inability to deal with a situation they find themselves in.
Seems communication comes in a different way these days with social media which Simpson doesn’t say is better or worse, but “different.”
“Absolutely and when you’re talking on social media you don’t have that emotion component,” he said agreeing that an officer might not have the go to skills to lower the temperature of a situation.
“How do you de-escalate, how do you bring that situation down, then have the ability to actually have a conversation? Because when people are emotional, they’re not hearing you and there’s a lot of talk but it’s not necessarily in a context of what the issue is.”
“The key part is listening. We see with our social media processes and how people interact and talk, it’s not open conversation, like you and I right now, it’s the over the social media piece. So we do see a change, it’s a gap we recognize and we also work towards filling that gap.”
“The nature of our job isn’t social connections, it’s one on one, face to face with people and when your used to communicating over an interest, it’s a whole different dynamic so it’s just understanding — they’re very good at communicating, I wouldn’t suggest otherwise but it’s that face to face communication is where we see some gap.”
The commission was told that almost two thirds of those who drop out, leave during the academic portion of training. Another third, from not being able to keep up with the physical challenges.
The EPS has to work harder to attract recruits as well. Simpson blames competition among young people for that. “When our economy was boiling we were seeing a decreasing number. Like it’s one in 2,000 applicants. Now we’re getting 500-600. So the numbers have changed and that’s a direct reflection on the economy,”
“Don’t lower your standards,” is one instruction that was urged by commissioner Laurie Hawn. A follow up report will come in July to look at the recruitment situation.