Cyber crime is a new responsibility for police, and agencies are struggling to attract and develop employees capable of handling cyber crime investigations. Most officers were not drawn into the profession because of an interest in cyber crime, so many are not well-suited for these positions. Individuals with experience in cyber crime generally receive higher salaries at private companies, so they can be difficult to recruit. And young people with technological skills are often not attracted to organizations as traditional and hierarchical as a law enforcement agency.
To overcome these issues and attract and develop capable employees, agencies may need to think creatively. The Toronto Police Service, which has been at the forefront of addressing recruitment and development issues, identifies technologically proficient employees already within the agency. They do this by cataloguing their recruits’ resumes and background information to find employees with skills they may not have known about. (For example, see The Role of Local Law Enforcement Agencies, In Preventing and Investigating Cybercrime, Police Executive Research Forum, April 2014.)
Agencies should also look into recruiting students with technological capabilities to draw them into law enforcement. If an agency regularly recruits at local colleges, they should consider targeting computer science majors or others with tech experience. Some departments have tried more creative methods of recruitment, including partnering with a local university on a cyber forensics program and attending cyber competitions. Once promising recruits are hired, agencies should take steps to regularly develop their skills. A list of national training opportunities (many of which are free) is available on the Training section of this website.