Officers from UNC, Duke University, N.C. State University and other surrounding communities attended the seminar led by master police officer Robert Kipper of Newport News, Va.
Kipper discussed how older officers relate to Generation X, which makes up about 25 percent of the adult population in the United States and includes people born between1960 and 1980.
The majority of the officers said they wanted to learn how to motivate and communicate effectively with younger workers for retention purposes.
"I'm interested in not only recruiting quality candidates, but in being able to retain them for a long period of time," said Jeff McCracken, deputy director of UNC's campus police.
Kipper said the largest part of misunderstanding in the workplace stems from cultural differences among generations. The differences, Kipper said, result from changes in commerce, trade and popular culture.
But Kipper was quick to acknowledge that there are also similarities found in the various age groups. "There are connections between generations," he said. "We just have to get over the stereotypes."
Kipper used the session to challenge officers to re-examine conventional modes of communication between veteran employees and fresh recruits. "There is not a question that you're going to have to hire people from Generation X," he said. "I want to make you look at the traditional modes and rethink them."
Kipper warned the officers about a "recruiting war" that is sweeping the nation.
He said that because every employer wants the best and the brightest staff, it is going to become more difficult to attract and keep skilled employees.