Careers in law enforcement remain ‘honorable’
The City of Kingman and the Kingman Police Department are changing the way in which they recruit law enforcement officers
Be it the way media portrays law enforcement officers or just a general decline in interest in the profession, the City of Kingman has had some difficulties when it comes to recruiting personnel for the Kingman Police Department. Thanks to a new recruitment campaign, the City hopes those struggles are over.
City Manager Ron Foggin said that in talking with Kingman Police Department Chief Bob DeVries, the City realized it needed to address the issue of recruitment.
“In the past, kids grew up talking about and dreaming about being police officers, and through the last I would say 10 years, we’ve seen a real drop off due to media coverage and just a lack of people wanting to be involved in police work,” Foggin said.
DeVries said the issue is far more than local and that it extends nationally and internationally.
“What we’re trying to show is the human side of what our career is and that our career has a lot to offer,” he said. “We’ve had to take a look at what we’re doing ourselves.”
KPD, he continued, has been looking at a multitude of ways to attract people to law enforcement, “because we’re not necessarily going to be the top paying agency in the state, but there’s other things that we can offer that we hope will be able to entice the right candidate.”
So the City and KPD’s recruitment team began considering how to bridge the recruitment gap. Of a recent 75 total applications received by KPD, 40 met the initial criteria and four made it to the final stage of recruitment. Those numbers are common for law enforcement, DeVries noted. Most of the people interested in a career with KPD are from Mohave County, but some do come in from neighboring states like California, Nevada and Utah.
After checking “anywhere and everywhere,” the chief said the answer was to partner with New Zealand Police and take a page from its book.
“I’m really excited about this new program,” the city manager said. “I think you’ll see the campaign put it back toward the youth thinking about being police officers way in advance of graduating from high school.”
DeVries said the goal of the new campaign, which aims to bring children into the law enforcement profession, remains being able to attract the best candidates possible.
“We’re trying to find the best medium to reach the best possible candidate for our department,” the chief said. “What we found through their research was the New Zealand recruiting effort. New Zealand’s put thousands of dollars into developing this program.”
DeVries said what he really likes about the campaign is that it shows the human side of law enforcement.
“It incorporates humor, it shows the human side of what police officers do,” he said, noting that the campaign addresses all specialty assignments within the department.
So far, the campaign has cost the City about $1,500. Campaign posters will soon be placed throughout the community including in schools. They contain slogans like “Turn your kindness into your career,” “Do you have what it takes to be a cop?” and “Something for whatever you’re into.”
“I think that shows the human side of what we do but also the diverse side of what we do in our profession,” DeVries said, also thanking City staff for their efforts and New Zealand Police for their willingness to work with Kingman.