Minneapolis city leaders announce police and 911 dispatch recruitment campaign

Minneapolis city leaders have announced a new initiative to recruit and retain police officers and 911 dispatchers.

Officials call this the start of a multiyear, comprehensive campaign that will include multimedia assets to fill positions in both departments.

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As reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS back in December, the city has been working toward this rollout with a focus on a recruitment video as well direct mail, emails, text messages and social media posts. However, the city says this campaign will be just one part of a larger recruitment plan.

A million-dollar push to get more officers on the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) is underway.

Mayor Jacob Frey dedicated $7 million from American Rescue Plan funding in 2022 after the Minneapolis City Council approved it. Those funds included intentions for a targeted advertising campaign, city officials say.

The City of Minneapolis says the ‘Imagine Yourself’ recruitment campaign will reach people as far as 300 miles away. A big part of it is a campaign video, but it will also include billboards, social media posts and fliers.

“It’s full-throated and it’s a full-court press,” Frey said, adding, “[We’re making] sure that we are getting the necessary police officers into MPD and getting 911 dispatchers as well.”

With a dedicated website, people can explore the different positions and avenues within the department.

“I truly believe Minneapolis will be the greatest law enforcement comeback story in America and who would not want to be a part of that,” Chief Brian O’Hara said.

The push comes as the city grapples with a depleting department and short-staffed 911 center.

City records showed there were 503 active full-duty officers on the MPD payroll at the end of February, down from more than 800 in 2019.

“We rely more and more mandatory overtime on officers working overtime. Officers performing multiple functions,” O’Hara said as he addressed the importance this campaign has not only on the hundreds of thousands of residents but also the officers that are on the force now.

As the department works to add officers, the 911 dispatch center hopes this campaign will help fill 10-15 positions. The city says those roles come with a hiring bonus, and the education requirements are at least either a high school diploma or a GED.

This is the latest effort from Minneapolis city officials following years of an understaffed police department. Other initiatives include signing bonuses and college tuition.

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