Utilizing the Signaling Theory in order to enhance minority recruitment in law enforcement

Donald B Terheide, Purdue University


Minority recruitment has been an emphasis for law enforcement agencies for decades. These agencies have attempted to recruit minority officers through different venues, including college visits, career fairs, advertising, high school visits, community organizations, and other avenues in an attempt to have their department more representative of the community. However, there has been a limited amount of research on the potential applicants’ perspective concerning how these recruiting efforts have persuaded them, and the messages conveyed to the applicants. This dissertation has been written utilizing the Signaling Theory, and determining what signals are sent to minority applicants, and how they are sent. Because the current research was limited in this area for law enforcement, a qualitative research approach was employed in order to understand the perspectives of current law enforcement recruiters, current minority police officers, and current undergraduate criminal justice students. With these perspectives, a consolidated viewpoint was gained that will enhance the ability of police departments to become more representative of their community. In this research, eight questions were asked of each group and their viewpoints on recruitment ideas, messages conveyed to applicants, testing apprehensions, discrimination, and utilization of police recruiters were discussed. The viewpoints expressed by each of the interviewees was open ended and information was garnered in an attempt to add to the knowledge in this area.




Mohler, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Management|Public administration|Criminology

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