Responding to the Staffing Crisis – Innovations in Recruitment and Retention

Cover of publication

Published by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), this report outlines the urgent staffing crisis which many law enforcement agencies across the country are experiencing. When PERF began examining this issue in 2018, a clear and worrying trend had already emerged in police recruitment and retention. That trend continued and the challenges increased over the tumultuous 2020-2022 period, as the findings from PERF member questionnaires show: 

  • Officer retirements and resignations have increased. Sixty-five percent of agencies reported an increase in retirements between 2020 and 2022, and 66 percent reported an increase in resignations.
  • Applications for open officer positions have decreased. Sixty-nine percent of agencies saw a drop in the number of applications for full-time officer positions between 2020 and 2022. 
  • Officer staffing levels are dropping. Overall, officer staffing levels fell by 4.8 percent between January 2020 and January 2023.

A copy of the full report can be found at