With baby boomers retiring, fewer jobs will be up for grabs for police across the country, who didn’t hire at the end of the ’90s and early 2000s, warns a Carleton University business professor.
“A lot of our older cops are going to be leaving all at once,” said Dr. Linda Duxbury, who expects to see changes, “big time,” in the next three to five years.
Ottawa deputy police chief Gilles Larochelle says retirement is tracked and planned for because officers “either advise us ahead of time, or it’s their retirement date.”
In 2011, the expectations were for 40 retirements and 10 resignations.
“What actually happened was 40 people retired, as planned, and seven resigned,” said Larochelle.
For 2012, they’re expecting 20 and 10, respectively.
Due to a tight police budget, “we won’t be hiring additional (officers),” said Larochelle.
“The 20 that will retire, we’re going to be hiring 20 right from the young recruits.”
Across the board, many new cops simply don’t have enough experience to fill the roles, said Duxbury.
“We’re being forced to promote them too quickly…police have to be exposed to a whole bunch of situations before they move up the ladder,” she said.
“You don’t just start day one, murder investigations. You have to get your feet wet.”
The wide gap could mean young recruits won’t have proper guidance.
“We don’t have people between say, 35 and 45 who are in that succession planning pipeline: the sergeant, the staff sergeant, the inspector, who are ready to do the coaching, the mentoring, the management, et cetera,” she said.
The quality of middle-staffers will directly affect the ability to keep younger folks around.
“We can’t manufacture these people now, because they needed to be hired and started to be developed 10, 15 years ago. So what is going to happen is everyone is going to start stealing from each other, and that is hugely expensive for a police force, if in fact, they lose their talent pool.”
Police Chief Vern White was recently appointed to Senate and leaves next month.
Hiring externally, Duxbury says, signals , ‘we don’t have the talent here, we’ve got to go elsewhere,’ which means that our talent will go elsewhere, too.’”
When two boomers leave, “we’re going to need three younger people to replace them, and we’ve only got one,” she said.