CPD begins new image campaign to recruit officers

July 17, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Flashy PR videos popped up Wednesday on YouTube to drum up interest in the department before the next police exam.

There hasn't been a police test given for prospective Chicago officers since 2010. With the next police exam probably in December, interest in becoming a cop may be down because of the daily dose of violent crime in Chicago. So on the police YouTube channel, five Chicago Police Department recruiting videos were posted in the hopes of attracting some new blood.

"On the streets of Chicago it is a never-ending mission of driving down gangs, guns and drugs," the video says.

The tightly produced videos show Chicago police on the streets, taking down what are referred to as bad guys.

"It's a cat-and-mouse game. They're gettin' paid not to get caught, and were getting' paid to catch 'em," the video says.

The spots - many with private video crews tagging along on raids - were actually made in 2010, according to department officials, and first used as recruiting tools before people lined up for the last police exam.

The police force remains short of its allotted 12,500 sworn officers and loses dozens each month to retirement. At the same time, Chicago this year has wrestled with more than 1,000 shootings and a seemingly endless string of murders.

The 3-year-old videos have been updated, according to police, but still don't reflect the level of violence calls in some neighborhoods.

"Don't know how many people are actually into Superman and Spiderman but you actually go into that realm," the video says.

Officers appear throughout the videos, one of which is entitled "The Family" referring to the tight-knit organization that is the police department.

Police officials say this is just the beginning of a new outreach campaign designed to generate interest and recruit officers. And for the first time, 21-year-olds will be allowed to become Chicago police officers. The old minimum was 25. Department officials hope that will widen the pool of candidates.

Chicago Police Dept.

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