BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Police Department rolled out a recruitment strategy Monday in an effort to fill the ranks and keep officers from leaving the force.
The $200,000, six-month digital campaign will include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. How many officers are needed is a moving target that's currently at several hundred, but not as many officers will be needed in the future when the city force catches up with technology.
The BPD is inviting a new generation of men and women to "Be part of the greatest comeback story in America." Recruitment videos will be available on social media.
"The campaign is designed to attract more police officer candidates from Baltimore City, as well as more women and more minorities. There will also be a focus on attracting candidates for our newly revived cadet program," Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said.
The digital recruitment strategy is not flashy. It's geared toward a specific audience and its internet queries.
"Flash and the importance of engaging a smaller attention span, that is a millennial myth in many ways. They want authenticity. They want to be able to see themselves and see their community on screen," said Matt McDermott, with idfive, a marketing firm.
The Police Department wants to fill the ranks by several hundred people to fight crime, provide more community policing and reduce overtime.
"Every day, the department sends too few officers on patrol and we have too many officers working overtime," Baltimore Mayor Jack Young said.
The campaign is based on leading research in recruitment best practices. Input comes from hundreds of hours of interviews with police, community members and focus groups.
"The campaign includes a number of elements, a 60-second commercial, display in search ads and an online hiring packet that includes interviews with officers throughout the department," McDermott said.
"We are hoping to grow the ranks so that we have the free time to be visible to have appropriate patrols, appropriate caseloads for investigations," Harrison said.
Police recruitment is a challenge all over the country, not just in Baltimore.