BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore Police Department unveiled a new marketing campaign it hopes will help recruit a “significant number” of new officers and reduce crime in the city.
“BE A PART OF THE GREATEST COMEBACK STORY IN AMERICA,” they announced in bold letters Monday.
The department said the campaign is designed to attract a more diverse group of officers from within the city in addition to increased recruiting for its updated cadet program.
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A website for the campaign highlights stories from current officers about what drew them to the force and why they felt compelled to serve the community they grew up in.
“It’s more than standing behind a badge; it’s standing up for our city,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said in a promotional video released as part of the effort. “But injustice, mistrust, fear, these are things we cannot stand for. this is a chance to be a part of the greatest comeback story in America.”
“A Proud New Generation”
Since being sworn in March 12, Harrison has been tasked with righting the ship in the wake of the Gun Trace Task Force scandal in a city where mistrust in police remains high after the 2015 Baltimore uprising.
The push also comes after several high-profile cases of officers appearing to fall asleep on the job, which the police union blamed on overworked officers being asked to work extra shifts because of staffing shortages.
The department said it’s putting a greater emphasis on community engagement and conflict resolution to prevent crimes before they happen.
Staffing shortages are nothing new within the department; in January 2017, the police union called the situation “dire.”
Still, Harrison expressed optimism the effort will make the city safer and reduce the burden on current officers.
In a statement, Mayor Jack Young applauded the campaign, calling it an “innovative” approach to the department’s recruitment woes.
“We need fresh ideas and approaches to solve our current staffing shortage and this new marketing campaign will be an essential piece of our recruitment efforts going forward,” Young said.
The $200,000 campaign is the brainchild of Baltimore-based advertising agency idfive, which beat out proposals from 11 other agencies to tackle the project.