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Baltimore Police Department pushes to hire new officers with digital recruitment campaign

Posted at 4:34 PM, Jul 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-08 18:24:00-04

BALTIMORE — Narrated by Commissioner Michael Harrison, the minute-long digital recruitment ad touches on the mistakes the department has made in the past — and the reputation it and the city currently fights.

Harrison extends the invitation as a chance to join a solution

“This is a chance to be a part of the greatest comeback story in America,” he says in the video.

Harrison, along with Mayor Jack Young, unveiled the new campaign, which will be hyper targeted to a specific audience.

The goal, city leaders say, is to attract the next generation of officers.

“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.

Currently, the department is suffering a shortage of several hundred officers — that means an insufficient number of police on the street, overtime and fatigue.

“I am confident we will attract an exceptional new generation of officers at the BPD. As police Commissioner Harrison says in the campaign video, everyone has the right to walk a safe street,” Mayor Jack Young said.

But those numbers won’t happen overnight.

It takes time to train and build a force back to the levels of a few years ago and retention, and modernizing the force must be part of the solution as well.

“The next best thing to adding more people is to reduce burdens for the people who are already here,” Harrison said, “and so it is to always increase the annual net gain and so to always grow that by having more officers stay while we bring more officers on.”

It is a tight rope many departments struggle with.

This digital campaign cost the city about $200,000.

Harrison says that is about on par with recruiting efforts in other big departments.