Kansas law enforcement looks to technology for recruits

June 21, 2017 GMT

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Law enforcement agencies throughout Kansas are turning to videos in their increasingly difficult challenge of recruiting new officers.

The Hutchinson Police Department and the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office have rolled out commercials or longer videos in recent weeks and months targeting potential recruits, The Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/2rCCtb2 ) reported.

The Wichita Police Department has been following a recruit class through the training academy with a video camera, posting weekly clips online showing what and how they’re doing.

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“What better way to show people, show our community, what happens at the academy than to follow a group of recruit officers” through the training, officer Paul Cruz said. “The video shows what recruit officers experience. We try to get deeper into what they felt: Was it a challenge? What did they learn?”

Cruz said the department’s videos also emphasize recruiting minority and women officers due to the shortage of such groups, particularly Asian and Hispanic officers.

“There is a huge need and push for having the police department as a whole represent or reflect the community that it serves,” he said. “Which is why some of these videos highlight the perspective from the female recruit officer — how she felt before and after the training.”

Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center Director Ed Pavey said that difficulties such as low starting pay, night and weekend shifts, and negative views of law enforcement are significant obstacles.

“Most other law enforcement agencies are experiencing the same struggles,” Hutchinson Police Lt. John Taylor said.

Hutchinson police released a video late last year describing the type of officers they hope to recruit. They also have shorter videos talking about various aspects of what it takes to be in law enforcement.

“We have received positive feedback on the video, and several of our applicants have commented that our department’s videos gave them more interest in our department,” Taylor said.

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com