Whether in big cities or small towns, recruiting is becoming a major challenge for Minnesota police forces—and it’s a problem the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association’s Wear the Badge campaign aims to reverse.
With police officer recruitment becoming an increasingly serious problem throughout Minnesota, the association that serves its chiefs of police is changing up its tactics this week.
The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association’s (MCPA) new Wear the Badge campaign is at the center of its strategy, which aims to make the case for a career on the police force at a time when public scrutiny is on the rise and competition from other industries is stronger than ever.
“Quite frankly we are at a point of crisis, in terms of public safety, and men and women joining this very honorable profession,” Medaria Arradondo, Minneapolis’ chief of police, said in comments reported by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
The Wear the Badge website features information about career options, as well as mini-documentaries featuring real-world police officers, such as Erika Penner of the Verndale Police Department, shown above. Arradondo himself even took part in a clip, describing his emotional ties to the community and program.
“This is a community I feel proud to serve and a department I feel proud to serve,” Arradondo stated in his clip.
In a news release, MCPA Executive Director Andy Skoogman noted that, beyond more traditional challenges such as salary differences, shifts in the public’s perception of police have also played a role in the declining interest in police work.
“While local and national research shows strong support for law enforcement, the policing profession is staring down a hiring crisis,” Skoogman explained. “We live in an economy where jobs are plentiful, salaries in the private sector are often greater than the public sector, scrutiny of police is more intense than ever, and technology is rapidly changing the work officers do.”
The campaign isn’t just limited to big cities like Minneapolis and Rochester, however, but also aims to make the case for people considering a career change to look to small towns as a potential option—a cause important to MCPA President Dan Hatten, who serves as chief of police in Hutchinson, a city with a population of just over 14,000.
Hatten noted during the press conference that his department also faces direct competition from other, larger police departments—which can be costly as the department can spend $25,000 to properly train an officer.
“As chiefs leading rural, urban and suburban departments, we have a common challenge and need to consider different solutions collectively,” Hatten stated in the release.
The Wear the Badge campaign, which will be active for six months, will aim to help with this case, with videos, podcasts, and blog posts all a part of the broader messaging.
“We have to reverse this troubling trend,” Skoogman added.