The Baltimore Police Department (BPD) is turning to a digital marketing campaign in its efforts to recruit new officers.
On Monday, BPD unveiled the campaign with the tagline: “Be a part of the greatest comeback story in America.”
The goal is to recruit the “next generation” of officers to the department, said Commissioner Michael Harrison, who assumed his role in March and set to what he at the time called the “colossal task” of bringing change to the department.
With the hiring push, the department is looking to increase ranks of officers who are on patrol, and ease workloads for the officers on the force.
“Among other things the campaign is designed to attract more police officer candidates from Baltimore city, as well as more women and more minorities,” Harrison said at a news conference on Monday. “There will also be a focus on attract candidates for our newly revived cadet program which promotes law enforcement as a viable career with a strategic career path for young folks.”
To create the six-month, $200,000 campaign, BPD worked with Baltimore-based marketing and advertising agency idfive, which was selected last year out of a dozen firms. The Mayor’s Office of Innovation within the city also conducted a study that was used to inform the campaign, along with hundreds of hours of focus groups, interviews and conversations with community and police, said Matt McDermott, idfive’s associate VP of creative strategy at the press conference. Baltimore creative agency Kapowza served as an agency partner to idfive.
The campaign includes 60-second commercial, display and search ads, and an online hiring packet featuring videos showing interviews with officers and community members. It will also feature content on social media, and landing pages that are specific to the audience who are reaching out.
“The campaign’s backbone is digital marketing. That allows us to better track and measure the response that the BPD receives as well as optimize the campaign as it continues,” McDermott said.
With the content itself, the aim is for authenticity. Potential recruits “want to be able to see themselves and see their communities onscreen,” the VP said.
Based on a building in MICA’s campus, idfive works mostly with higher education and nonprofit clients. McDermott, who is originally from Baltimore, said it was an honor to work on the effort with the city.
“I can think of no more meaningful project at a time in our city’s history than to help the department recruit a new generation of officers who believe in the commissioner’s vision of … a commitment to customer service, community engagement and constitutional policing,” he said.