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Digital recruiting aims to help Phoenix police reach millennials

Lisa Gutierrez is a police assistant with the Phoenix Police Department. (KTAR News/Griselda Zetino)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Police Department is increasing the use of digital tools to reach millennials.

“When you’re trying to connect with a specific group of people – that could potentially be terrific police officers – you have to be able to not only speak their language, but connect with them in ways that they connect with each other,” Sergeant Vince Lewis said.

Those ways include Facebook and Twitter, and even YouTube. Phoenix police have increased their presence on all three social media sites – not just to announce events, but to show potential officers and communications operators how great it is to work for the department.

Lewis said thanks to advances in digital communications and other avenues, policing for millennials – people aged 22-37 – will be different than what he experienced 20 years ago, and will change even from today. However, “we welcome not only innovation, and the new ideas of the millennials, we WANT to connect with them. We want them to know that this, too, is their department.”

Sources say millennials are one of the biggest recruiting problems for any Valley police department because they don’t see the job as a long-term career. They claim millennials stay for a few years, then leave if they don’t find the job to their liking. They claim that puts a lot of strain on departments as they try to replace retiring or older officers. Lewis said that’s not necessarily the case.

“I was attracted the police work for the same reason that most of us are, you want to help people,” he said. “A lot of people feel inspired that they can go out there and they can do more; they can help their community.

“I think that’s something that transcends all ages.”

Currently, the department is hiring for officers and communications operators. Lewis said there will be a test twice a month. For more details, click here

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