WARSAW — The city is recognizing the challenges of hiring police officers as the pool of applicants for many departments has shrunk in recent years and is trying a new marketing approach.
At Friday’s Board of Works and Safety meeting, city officials unveiled two slick recruitment videos aimed at luring quality candidates for openings with the police and fire departments.
The videos were prepared by One Voice Media, Warsaw, at a combined cost of $20,000, according to Whitney Olson, who helped coordinate the publicity campaign and serves as an administrative assistant for human resources and the mayor’s office.
The two videos use pulsating music, some light moments — and occasionally — some dramatic slow motion to highlight careers within the two departments while also touting the quality of life Warsaw.
The police recruitment video will be posted next week on the city’s Facebook page and the police department’s page on the city website. The fire department video will go online the next time there is an opening, Olson said.
“We’re really satisfied, very proud of this,” said Jennifer Whitaker, director of human resources for the city. “Whitney did an awesome job. She was able to take my vision and turn it into reality.”
The police department is currently seeking two officers, including one that would be an additional position that was approved for last year. The fire department will be filling one position following a retirement, Whitaker said.
The difficulty in hiring police officers is nationwide, said Whitaker. She pointed out that Indeed.com recently listed 6,856 positions for police openings.
She said she’s seeing strong indications that many people are searching online for certain jobs.
“It’s not like it used to be where you could put a piece of paper up on the bulletin board and say, ‘Hey, we’re hiring,’” Whitaker said.
In a related note, two police officers, Kelly Bradley and Zachary Smith, who were hired last year, were moved off probationary status and sworn in as regular full-time officers Friday.
In other matters, the board approved plans for the city to contribute $20,000 to a $70,000 contract to study workforce housing by High Performance Government Network, Fort Wayne, that will look at a housing strategy to improve the amount of workforce housing.
Kosciusko County is expected to contribute $20,000, and the Kosciusko County Community Foundation will provide $30,000, from a grant through the Lilly Endowment, according to Suzie Light, executive director of the Kosciusko Community Foundation.
Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer said the study will not only collect data but also offer an action plan. It will also look beyond the city limits.
“We’re not just looking at workforce housing as a city issue. This is definitely an issue across the entire county. The more improvements we can make across the county, the better we’re going to end up,” Thallemer said.
The board also:
- Agreed to increase City Attorney Scott’s Reust’s amount of work from 22 hours per month to 30 hours per month. His pay rate — $108 per hour — will not change.
- Approved contracts for two opening acts for the two biggest annual summer concerts in Central Park. Wehr Rock of Elders will open for Little River Band on June 14. Backwater will open for the country concert on July 19 featuring Montgomery Gentry. Both opening acts will be paid $1,000.
- Approved a street closing to accommodate a large car show hosted by Warsaw Breakfast Optimist on June 30. The closings involve Center Street, Buffalo Street and Indiana Street in the immediate downtown area. An earlier show hosted by the group was canceled because of bad weather.