Minneapolis Unveils New Recruiting Campaign to Rebrand Policing

March 7, 2024
The "Imagine Yourself" recruitment campaign is "a full-court press to make sure that we are getting the necessary police officers," as well as 911 dispatchers, says Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.

By Andy Mannix
Source Star Tribune

Minneapolis launched a marketing campaign Wednesday designed to recruit new candidates to the city's police department and 911 dispatch center, an effort to replenish staffing levels for both emergency-response agencies.

City leaders previewed part of the campaign at a news conference: a YouTube commercial that shows young people of color jogging, picking up their kids at school and playing basketball, juxtaposed with footage of the same people in uniform answering 911 calls and responding to emergencies across the city. "At the end of the day, you'll know your work matters. So why not you?" says a voiceover.

The advertisement, created by marketing firm Accenture LLP, ends with the campaign's tag line: "Imagine Yourself."

"This campaign is comprehensive. It's full throated and it's a full-court press to make sure that we are getting the necessary police officers into MPD and that we are getting 911 dispatcher as well," said Mayor Jacob Frey at the news conference . He said the campaign will include "everything from ads on social media, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube to commercials on the air to billboards."

The city is paying Accenture $950,000 for the campaign, part of a $7 million grant from the American Rescue Plan Act that will be used for recruitment and retention, according to contract documents approved by the City Council last fall.

The campaign is the latest in Minneapolis's attempt to rebrand policing in a city that became a focal point for racial justice movements after the 2020 murder of George Floyd, and is still negotiating a consent decree with the Justice Department over a pattern of racist practices. Hundreds of police officers have left since 2020— some taking costly settlements for PTSD diagnosed after rioting — supercharging a wave of attrition and retirements that police leaders had been warning about for years.

The police ranks had hit 565 as of January, down from nearly 900 in 2019, according to figures provided by the Minneapolis Police Department earlier this year. The dispatch center is understaffed by about 10 to 15 full-time operators, said Minneapolis Emergency Call Center Director Joni Hodne on Wednesday.

"'911, what's the address of your emergency?'...We're looking for individuals who can imagine themselves saying those words," said Hodne. "Imagine that they're the first people someone talks to when they're having an emergency. They're the first link that brings calm to a person in the worst time of their lives."

Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O'Hara said the department hired 40 officers in 2023, which did not keep pace with attrition. But O'Hara expressed optimism that recruiting is turning a corner, predicting Minneapolis will be "the greatest law enforcement comeback story in America."

In addition to the ad campaign, the city also began disseminating a survey last year to collect citizen feedback on police in Minneapolis, another effort to help identify problems in perception of police. City and police union leaders agreed to retention and recruitment bonuses last year to shore up staffing as well, but City Council voted 8-5 to rejected the incentive package in November.

Frey said at the press conference this week he believes the city will find a way to raise police pay, likely in ongoing contract negotiations with the union.

Currently, entry level positions for the Minneapolis Police Department come with salaries ranging from $71,000 to $92,000, said Frey spokeswoman Katie Lauer. Dispatchers start at $31.27 to $42.54 per hour, with a $1,000 bonus, she said.


©2024 StarTribune.

Visit startribune.com.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Sponsored Recommendations

Build Your Real-Time Crime Center

March 19, 2024
A checklist for success

Whitepaper: A New Paradigm in Digital Investigations

July 28, 2023
Modernize your agency’s approach to get ahead of the digital evidence challenge

A New Paradigm in Digital Investigations

June 6, 2023
Modernize your agency’s approach to get ahead of the digital evidence challenge.

Listen to Real-Time Emergency 911 Calls in the Field

Feb. 8, 2023
Discover advanced technology that allows officers in the field to listen to emergency calls from their vehicles in real time and immediately identify the precise location of the...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Officer, create an account today!