Local law-enforcement agencies turn to the net for recruiting

KTRK-13's Mike McGuff reports on HPD's officer recruitment blog:

The blog is the unique brain child of Mike McCoy, a senior officer with the Houston Police Department. It's one of the few blogs that show up in a search engine concerning the subject. Officer McCoy, who works in recruiting, says he wanted a way to go straight to the potential recruits.

"I think a lot of young people nowadays are on the Internet all the time," Officer McCoy told abc13.com. "They're always searching different career paths on the Internet. And I thought, if you blog and you YouTube, and you just put in keywords like 'The Houston Police Department,' not only will you get our website, but my blog is popping up now because I post every day on it."

The Houston Police Department Recruiting Blog has only been around since March but has already started a dialogue between an officer hungry department and possible recruits.

Kudos to HPD for taking the initiative on this. The internet should certainly be used to full advantage in recruiting.

Elsewhere, KPRC-2's Daniella Guzman reports on the Harris County Sheriff's Office recruiting site, which we discussed briefly here:

The new Harris County Sheriff's Office Web site is fast and action-packed, similar to a Hollywood movie, but some have problems with it, KPRC Local 2 reported Monday.

The site is filled with hi-tech, 3D, high-definition films targeted to the young generation.

"We are trying to attract people who are are into video games, hi-tech and electronics," said Capt. John Martin with the Harris Country Sheriff's Office.

It has a Mission Impossible theme, filled with music and modern graphics. The Sheriff's Office is promoting positions in all their departments, a very similar strategy to the Army and the Navy's Web sites.

The Democratic candidate running against Sheriff Thomas doesn't like the website:

Councilman Adrian Garcia is running for county sheriff.

He said the quote on the Web site from Ernest Hemingway does not appear to be recruiting public servants. It reads, "There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter."

"It looks like a commercial for Dog the Bounty Hunter. It's not professional. We need to send out a professional message," said Garcia.

Of all the criticisms he might level about professionalism in the department, that one seems misplaced. Reasonable people might quibble with a spot or two in some of the videos, but the end product doesn't seem unprofessional to me -- far from it. And the department claims that it's effective:

The Web design company, ATGNAT.COM, said the site is already starting to pay off for the department.

"They have had enormous number of hits. The other advantage is the people looking at the Web site stay there for at least seven minutes," a company spokesman said. The Web site has been since June 1. Officials said they have already had 30,000 hits.

Both HPD and the Sheriff's Office need qualified officer candidates. If they can use the web effectively to attract those candidates, that seems like a good thing.

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 06/24/08 08:23 PM | Print |

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