Campaign to Boost Police Recruitment

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
kfarley@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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News item

Campaign to Boost Police Recruitment

Posted: 01/15/2020
KPD LogoThe City of Knoxville is advancing a commitment to invest in a diverse police force that is fully staffed to better protect, serve and support neighborhoods.

On Tuesday night (Jan. 14, 2020), City Council approved funding for a $100,000 comprehensive multimedia marketing and branding campaign to enhance the Knoxville Police Department’s recruiting efforts.

The competitively bid contract is being finalized with a team consisting of two experienced Knoxville firms – Ackermann Marketing & PR and Robin Easter Design.

“We believe this investment will be beneficial for many years to come,” Mayor Indya Kincannon said. “The intent is to connect with more people who are considering a career in law enforcement and, if they don’t already live here, share with them why they should consider Knoxville and KPD.”

Nationally, police departments are facing numerous challenges in finding quality recruits to replace veterans who are retiring. One such challenge is a healthy economy with low unemployment rates nationally and locally.

KPD currently has 379 officers but is authorized for 416. About 50 additional long-serving officers could retire in the near future. Thin staffing means longer shifts and less time off for officers.

In recent years, the City has taken steps to boost recruitment locally. The starting annual salary of a police officer has been increased to $40,000. KPD offers a Lateral Entry program for certified officers; salaries are increased for recruits’ years of service with other law-enforcement agencies or military police.

“We have worked hard as an agency to identify and attract diverse and qualified candidates, as has every law-enforcement agency in the country,” KPD Chief Eve Thomas said. “In order to overcome the numerous challenges in recruitment and separate your department in a competitive market, you have to pair new and innovative approaches alongside traditional recruiting methods. 

“We feel that this campaign will allow the KPD to maximize all of the available resources to enhance our recruitment efforts, expand our geographic reach and communicate that the KPD is a desirable employer and the City of Knoxville is a desirable community to live and serve.”     

The marketing campaign will begin with an extensive assessment and research phase that will include focus groups, stakeholder interviews, online surveys and more. How do people here and in other places view Knoxville? What’s KPD’s reputation locally and nationally? What are the barriers to application? What opportunities exist to enlarge the pool of quality applicants?

Once that information is gathered and assessed, a marketing strategy and playbook will be developed and implemented starting in March and continuing through the end of 2020.