What differentiates one individual from another candidate to make them appear a more desirable employee? As a current university professor and a former employee in Federal law enforcement, I am often asked this question. To be successful in this job hunt one needs to acquire requisite skills prior to employment that will demonstrate to the employer the ability to ‘hit-the-ground-running’ when hired.
It is certainly no secret that law enforcement and analysis positions are highly sought after by a large segment of both government agencies and private sector businesses. Federal agencies report receiving thousands of applications for law enforcement positions and internship opportunities; even Disney World needs and hires intelligence analysts. In order to determine what specific skillsets these high level jobs require, I interviewed government and private sector managers to obtain the answer directly from the people who make the decision to hire.
- Written Communication – Universally, each stated that the number one skill expected was that the applicant is proficient in communicating through writing. Managers cite arduous task of finding individuals who can prepare reports and other communications on a daily basis.
- Data-Driven Policing – Modern policing strategies, at all levels, are extremely data directed. Whether patrolling in a squad or hunting terrorists, performing the job begins with an analysis. Therefore, it is important that students learn various methodologies and techniques of intelligence/crime analysis. This includes skills such as flow analysis, spatial/geographic analysis, financial analysis, crime-pattern analysis, time series analysis, frequency analysis, and investigative (evidential) analysis, among others.
- Oral Communication – The ideal employee can deliver presentations to groups of concerned citizens, courtroom jurors, and colleagues at a COMSTAT Meeting. They are experienced in the presentation of facts and evidence, providing clear arguments for rebuttal, and responding to questions. They have performed media interviews, given 10-minute lectures, and responded impromptu to reporters’ questions.
Overall, a successful criminal justice professional is ethically and morally driven, living by high intellectual and moral standards, respecting the dignity of other persons, seeking to resolve the problems facing humanity, and committing themselves to live as responsible citizens.
About the Author
Joe Vince is the director of the adult and traditional criminal justice programs at the Mount. He has been accepted as an expert in Federal Court with regards to firearms-related violent crime, often interpreting crime-gun and other crime data for both judges and juries. He is a nationally- and internationally-known crime-gun/law enforcement expert, being quoted in several publications, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Washington Times, USA Today and other national and international publications. He has appeared on 60 Minutes, CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX and PBS, as well as local television stations across the U.S. and internationally in Canada, Great Britain and Japan, commenting on crime and law enforcement. He is also the President of Crime Gun Solutions LLC, a private company dedicated to assisting and training law enforcement and other groups.