Filling the Gaps: Reimagining Recruitment, Hiring, Retention, and Training

Law enforcement agencies across the country are encountering challenges in recruitment, hiring, retention, and training. Small agencies can be an incubator for innovation, agencies serving rural communities must reimagine services, and statewide agencies seek to meet fluctuating demands within dispersed geographic regions. Agencies of all types are challenging the status quo through implementing creative and flexible solutions. This panel provided perspectives from smaller, rural serving, and statewide agencies who have sought assistance from the COPS Office premier technical assistance center (CRI-TAC). CRI-TAC provides customized technical assistance for law enforcement agencies seeking to enhance their implementation strategies and programs to meet the needs of the field.

  • Describe barriers to effective recruitment, hiring and retention strategies.
  • Recognize strategies to diversify recruitment and hiring efforts.
  • Identify lessons learned from recruitment, hiring, and retention challenges and successes.

Nazmia Comrie

Senior Program Specialist, COPS Office

Nazmia E.A. Comrie is a senior program specialist in the Resources and Technical Assistance (RTA) division at the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office). Nazmia provides leadership for the development, implementation, and delivery of technical assistance efforts to state, local, tribal, and campus law enforcement agencies across the county as the program manager for the Collaborative Reform Initiative. She is an issue manager for issues related to human trafficking, hate crimes, interpersonal violence, and mass demonstrations, and has expertise in officer wellness and safety and youth safety. To date Nazmia has authored and coauthored a number of publications relevant to her areas of expertise and the criminal justice field as a whole, including Building Stronger, Safer Communities: A guide for law enforcement and community partners to prevent and respond to hate crimes. In addition Nazmia was a significant contributor to the After-Action Assessment of the Police Response to the August 2014 Demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri report that was released in 2015. Nazmia received her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Rochester and her master's degree in criminal justice from University at Albany, where she worked on research involving homicides, wrongful convictions, community policing, and gangs. 

John Batiste


Chief John R. Batiste is the 21st Chief of the Washington State Patrol originally appointed in 2005. On January 16, 2017, Governor Jay Inslee reappointed Chief Batiste to continue to lead the Washington State Patrol. He oversees the day-to-day operations and manages the agency?s six bureaus: Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, Field Operations, Fire Protection, Forensic Laboratory Services, Investigative Services, and Technical Services. Chief Batiste began his career with the Washington State Patrol in March 1976. He has promoted through the ranks of sergeant, lieutenant, captain, and deputy chief. Chief Batiste obtained his Bachelor?s Degree in Law Enforcement Administration from City University and is a graduate of Northwestern University?s Center for Public Safety School and Police Staff and Command, as well as a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation?s National Executive Institute. Chief Batiste has been involved in a variety of activities and organizations to numerous to name, participating as an Executive Board Member for many boards and organizations.

Jeff Caponera


Grafton, WI, Police Department

Chief Caponera is a 26-year law enforcement professional. He retired as Chief of Police from the City of Anna, Texas Police Department in August 2020 after serving the Anna community for over 12 years. He currently serves as the Chief of Police for the Grafton, Wisconsin Police Department. Chief Caponera graduated Summa Cum Laude from Regis University in Denver, Colorado with a BS in Public Administration. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, Session 276 and the 53rd Session of the Institute for Law Enforcement Administration?s School of Executive Leadership. Chief Caponera?s certifications include instructor, crisis negotiator, field training officer and supervisor, master peace officer (Texas) and grant writer. Chief Caponera is an active member of the FBI National Academy Associates (Wisconsin Chapter). He was a member of the North Central Texas Council of Governments Criminal Justice Policy Development Committee, representing Anna and Collin County, Texas. Chief Caponera currently represents the Wisconsin Police Chiefs Association as an advisory board member for the Wisconsin Department of Justice?s Committee on Elder Abuse.

Laura Wilt

Program Manager


Laura Wilt is a Program Manager on the IACP Programs Team currently responsible for overseeing the successful delivery of all training and technical assistance activities of the Collaborative Reform Initiative Technical Assistance Center (CRI-TAC) to agencies across the nation. Since joining the IACP eight years ago, Laura has worked on the IACP Programs and IACP Member Engagement Teams focused on the implementation and delivery of projects, training, and technical assistance initiatives aimed at providing practical tools, education, and support to the policing field. Areas of focus in her portfolio of work have included victim services, trauma-informed training, officer safety and wellness, multi-collaborative partnerships, juvenile justice, community-police relations, women in law enforcement, and leadership. She has supported federal grant awards from diverse funders including OJJDP, OVC, and the COPS Office. Before becoming a team member with the IACP, Laura served as Crisis Manager and Training Coordinator at the Arlington, VA based non-profit, CrisisLink, centered on crisis intervention and suicide prevention.  


Filling the Gaps: Reimagining Recruitment, Hiring, Retention, and Training
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