Law Enforcement and Social Media Recruitment

September 22, 2017

Law Enforcement and Social Media Recruitment

by Ian D Scofield

Recruiting police officers is a difficult task in a world where police don’t have the best reputation.  While this may be true, police departments are often overlooking a useful tool when it comes to recruiting, social media.  There is a great deal of people that are influenced by social media and agencies can use this to expand their reach to candidates that might not normally have applied.

A master’s theses “I Can Haz Applicants”: An Analysis of Police Recruitment and Marketing Through Social Media looked into the current use of the internet and social media by police as a recruiting tool.  They found that for the most part, law enforcement agencies are not utilizing social media to the fullest extent possible.

This needs to be changed as the number of suitable candidates goes down, demand for police officers goes up, and requirements get stricter.  Social media and the internet can be used to appeal to the younger generation of citizens who are getting ready to enter the workforce or just have.

How do we utilize social media for recruiting?

With websites such as Facebook and Twitter, the goal is to make a career in law enforcement look appealing.  You want the page for your department to appear like something that someone from the younger generation might like doing.

It is also about posting regular content that appeals to the younger generation.  From posting pay rates to posting open positions, there are a lot of options to attract new recruits.

A few departments have recently experimented with using memes to recruit.  These are edited viral images that are often used for humor.  By utilizing these same memes for recruiting, you are not only using something that the generation in question understands, but it shows that you can connect with them.

One of the best social media platforms for recruiting is YouTube.  With YouTube you can make recruitment videos that can affect people in multiple ways.  Some departments utilize serious videos as a way to attract potential candidates, some use action, while others use comedy.  Each type of video will appeal to a different crowd and a combination of all of them can be used too.

Here are a few samples of police recruiting videos from around YouTube.


In the above video, you will notice that the department uses a sense of drama along with action to establish that the Rialto Police Department is a great place to work.  With this you can attract the crowd that wants action but also wants to work with a team of professionals who have each other's back and that of the community.

This next video is an obvious play on Star Wars and uses humor to attempt to recruit new candidates.  It is a great idea as it appeals to a wide variety of people.  And a good laugh can get people interested just as easily as a serious video.  Sometimes even more so.  The FWPD has a series of comedy style recruiting videos that vary in popularity and target audience, check out the rest of their videos here.

In the last video, you will notice a mix of seriousness and action.  The video also does a great job at showing the different jobs that are part of the department.  It also shows a connection with the community and other officers.  Most of all, it feels real and interesting.

Making videos like these is incredibly easy and very affordable with the technology that is available to the public now.  Free video editing software or even cheap video editing software can be put to use to create amazing recruiting videos.

The same applies to software and utilities for other social media platforms.  Programs can be utilized to post material at certain times, edit images for social media recruitment, and to work at spreading your online presence, all for free.

Don't forget one of the most important parts of the online presence though, your department website.  Your department website must be appealing to new candidates of all kinds.  Updating the website regularly is also important.

Spending a little bit of time working with social media can help any department with their recruiting needs.  In fact, in the world where people spend so much time on their digital devices, it is almost necessary.  Talk to your department today about using social media as a recruiting tool.  Stay safe out there.



About The Author:

Ian is a staff writer at APTI and hospital security officer at a major medical center who has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with a Specialization in Administration of Justice.  He has held multiple positions in the security industry from patrol supervisor to auxiliary public safety officer.  At APTI he brings his writing skills to help further the careers of others and provide quality content.  Feel free to visit his freelancing site or his creative writing site.

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