Police Mentoring Program
In 2007 the Kent Police Department implemented a formalized Mentoring program. The program was developed to allow newly hired employees, both sworn and non-sworn, a smoother transition into the department as well as a greater understanding of the organization’s culture and history. New employees are afforded the opportunity to enhance their work skills and identify future career goals while the department experiences increased employee retention along with increased job satisfaction and loyalty.
Mentoring begins when a newly hired employee completes a confidential voluntary questionnaire about their general past history including past careers and personal interests. A mentoring committee then reviews the questionnaire and compares the responses to those of previously selected mentors from within the department. The new employee, or protégé, is then assigned a mentor based on the responses with the hopes that some common interest may exist between the protégé and mentor. The mentor is notified of the “pairing” and promptly makes personal contact with the protégé to introduce themselves.
All new mentors receive a five hour in-house training course. During the course they receive training on the origin of mentoring, communications techniques, ethics, as well as complete group exercises involving a variety of mentoring scenarios.
Mentors are expected to maintain contact with their protégés in person, by telephone or email. Mentors advise the protégé how to make contact with them if any questions arise. Additionally, mentors keep their protégés aware of any departmental functions or issues that may be important. During the mentoring cycle, which extends throughout the protégé’s probationary period, either the mentor or the protégé can request a new mentor be assigned if either of them feel that the “pairing” is not compatible.
Since the inception of the Mentoring program, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Mentors and protégés who have gone through the mentoring cycle have completed exit surveys and have indicated that the program provides a beneficial service, not only to the mentors and protégés, but the department and the community that it serves. Prior to the program, our new hire loss rate was 32%. Within 3 years, that was reduced to 17% with no significant changes in hiring or training protocols. Several of our early protégés have gone on to become mentors, FTOs (field training officers), and members of specialty units.
For more information about the Mentoring Program please contact Marla Pinelli or Sergeant Mike O'Reilly.
Original Proposal (36 kb pdf)
Mentoring Program Strategy (19 kb pdf)
Mentoring Program Duration (18 kb pdf)
Mentoring Program Guidelines (26 kb pdf)
Mentoring Program Criteria (23 kb pdf)
Special thanks to the Fontana, CA Police Department for their help and sharing of information to get our program started.
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