At American Police Officers Alliance (APOA) we cover the issues and support the causes that matter to our men and women in blue. Make no mistake, the tenor in America today related to law enforcement has driven a call to arms in support those that protect and serve – and risk their lives daily. But that doesn’t mean we can take a moment to be slightly more lighthearted as we try to make a point.
We found this amazing police recruiting video developed in New Zealand that’s been trending in the media the past month. While it’s a video from another country, there are things to be learned here. It’s almost cinematic in nature, positive in tone and compelling if you’re thinking of a career in law enforcement. Check it out:
The Best Police Recruitment Video Ever
So what’s to be learned here? It starts by asking a simple question – whatever happened to the perceived prestige and honor associated with being a cop in America? There was a day even in recent times where becoming a cop was as viable and prestigious as becoming a lawyer or a veterinarian! Has the tone across America caused a shift in the tone we take when recruiting new officers? Has the press demonized the profession due to the lack of judgment and negative impact Brough on by the actions of the few, not the many? From our perspective, bad press or not, it behooves the need for a more focused marketing and PR effort by police departments across the country.
What the video above does so well is market the profession by selling the benefits of service. What a simple concept, right? Don’t focus on the negative, but rather focus on what becoming an officer means for the community. What the statement “protect and serve” really stands for. The “reasons to believe” that becoming a cop is not only prestigious but fulfilling from a career perspective. The video also sheds light on all the opportunities available in law enforcement. You don’t have to opt for being a beat cop but can work in an administrative and enabling role. Most of all, the characters in the video portray cops as human beings with goals, hopes and dreams – and a sense of humor. A stark difference from the prevailing stereotype of the American cop. Clearly, this ad was produced by an agency, but maybe there’s something to learn from that alone.
Here’s our reality. Recruitment in American cities and town is down nearly 90%. Police departments are starving for new, good recruits. Look at the example of Seattle alone. A decade ago, there were 3,000 applicants for 10 openings with the Seattle police, the department says. Now there are 1,000 applicants for 70 positions. That’s a drop of guess what? More than 90 percent.
So the point we’re making is that recruiting the new generation of police officers requires a different approach. It requires thinking like a PR team and a marketing agency. Having a clear understanding of what motivates the end “customer” or recruit. An understanding of how to reach them and message to them. And understanding of the call to action required to drive a proactive recruit to send en email or pick up the phone or inquire on Facebook.
There are benefits to this approach beyond driving recruiting efforts. By marketing the profession we have the ability to change perception at the ground floor. We can insert the notion of law enforcement prestige and honor back into the American dialogue. Ultimately we can create a groundswell movement that brings purpose and respect back to the profession.