Multiple Star Wars parody videos for the Fort Worth (TX) Police Department have gone viral thanks to Public Information Officer and Department Videographer Officer Brad Perez. He didn't spend a lot of time and resources, but he got a lot of positive response. That's the ideal formula.
"I asked recruiting if they had exact numbers, but we don't have a form in place to ask people why they applied," he explains. "But through personal observation, every time we put a video out, the inquiries about lateral transfer and applying, even people that send us messages wishing they were younger so they could join us, all increase dramatically."
Perez says he appreciates the fact that his administration has been supportive of his efforts. "You have to have the support. They must understand that times are changing, poli, getting the message out is changing. The new school, we have to change with the times."
But not everyone was on board right away. "Ironically, some of the biggest critics I had were my own officers, but I respectfully discussed with them they are not the audience," Perez says. "I'm appealing to those who don't know what we do, and let them know we are human, we laugh, we cry, want to have fun when we can. By humanizing us in this profession, these videos can bring that distance between us and them closer."
Even if you don't have an idea for a viral video, creating videos that help potential recruits get to know your department and help them feel like they'd belong can go a long way toward convincing them to apply.