Law Enforcement:

Recruitment, Retention, and Compensation of Support Staff

GGD-90-60: Published: May 22, 1990. Publicly Released: May 22, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO supplemented the National Advisory Commission on Law Enforcement's (NACLE) study of federal law enforcement personnel issues, focusing on the difficulties federal law enforcement agencies experienced in attracting and retaining qualified support staff.

GAO found that: (1) federal law enforcement managers and recruiters did not routinely maintain data identifying personnel trends, but still perceived a significant support staff recruiting problem; (2) 44 percent of the law enforcement managers experienced problems recruiting sufficient qualified support staff, with recruitment being the third most cited problem overall; (3) long-standing vacancies disrupted office operations and diminished overall efficiency; (4) federal law enforcement officials believed that noncompetitive entry-level salaries and stringent hiring standards made recruiting more difficult and expensive for law enforcement agencies; (5) support staff turnover statistics varied between law enforcement and non-law enforcement agencies, primarily because of Federal Bureau of Investigation quit rates; and (6) a 1989 report established that there was a pay gap averaging 29 percent between federal salaries and private salaries for all positions, indicating that federal sector pay was much less than pay in the private sector.

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