August 14, 2012

SCPD Turns to Social Media for Hiring

Over the last few weeks the Santa Cruz Police Department has tried a new tactic to reach potential employees: social media. Traditionally, the department would advertise positions on its website, the City website, local print publications and sometimes statewide police publications. However, as the success of  the department's technological outreach has shown, people are accessing information in new ways and social media is one of the best methods to reach them.

“People consume information in more ways than they used to, and it’s important for us to put the information in a medium they’re using,” Police Chief Kevin Vogel said.

Given that the next generation of law enforcement officers use social media as a primary communications tool, the department decided to take out ads on Facebook to reach new employees. In addition, the department has been using Twitter for new employee outreach. Right now SCPD is hiring lateral officers (officers that work for another agency or were recently laid off) and police academy graduates. The Facebook ads link to an employment page that allow lateral/academy grads to apply.

In the last few years the Santa Cruz Police Department has greatly expanded its technological outreach to include mobile apps, Nixle crime alerts, online crime maps and crime tips, a blog, predictive policing, Facebook, Twitter and a bilingual website. The department will test to see what response is received from social media advertising - but early indications are positive. It has been shown to be a much less expensive advertising tool that highlights other elements the department is doing. It won't serve as a replacement for other outreach methods, but might help the department reach potential employees that wouldn't have been reached before. Click here to see the Facebook page.