Created: 05/01/2014 10:23 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Santa Fe Police are using community-focused recruitment materials to attract new officers that will engage with the city.
“We were having a hard time recruiting just like all the other departments around the state. We wanted to bring our numbers up and we wanted to reach the people that we want to serve as police officers. We decided the first thing we did was ask our department, what do you love most about your job, what makes you come to work every day?” Santa Fe Police Department Celina Westervelt said.
Officers’ responses all fell along the same lines.
“Over and over again it was the, I get to help kids, I get to save people that are in situations that they shouldn't be in, we get to connect with the community,” Westervelt said.” It was a lot more of the touchy-feely stuff when it comes to police work that has our officers coming to work every day.”
SFPD wanted to engage the community in their branding campaign, too. They launched a slogan contest, and narrowed it down. Inspired by civilian suggestions, they made their tagline “Selflessness, Fidelity, Professionalism, Diversity.”
Their ads showcased Santa Fe as a city and the department as a place to not only investigate and enforce the law, but to connect with the community.
“We really wanted to show off the facets of coming to work in Santa Fe - the beautiful weather, the historic culture, the really interesting things you can do all around the city -- and the people,” Westervelt said.
Since the new campaign began, SFPD has seen an influx of potential recruits.
“What we've seen is an increase in the military, in our veterans coming to the police department, which is exactly what we like, we really enjoy having veterans working for us. They're really good with the chain of command, they're well trained already and they have the utmost respect for the public and rules within the department,” Westervelt said.
Edmund Perea is an attorney and former command level officer for the Albuquerque Police Department. During his time with APD, Perea was instrumental in developing strategies for community-oriented policing. Perea says campaigns like this appeal to a specific kind of recruit.
“Clearly it's law enforcement but it's also working closely with the community and when you have a recruiting tool that highlights working with the community, I think you're more likely to find those individuals that have an interest in working with the community,” Perea said.