Shelby County sheriff trying unique approach to recruiting

Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 4:23 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - If you’ve been driving around lately listening to local audio streaming or podcasts, you may have heard ads that sound like a recruiting pitch to come work for a social media or tech startup, with phrases like, “I don’t know what you did at work today, but me? I was part of changing someone’s life,” or “Thanks to the freedom and flexibility of my new job, I know my next beach trip is never far away.”

But it’s only when you get deep into the minute-long ad that you figure out what kind of job you’re hearing described - a deputy sheriff in Shelby County.

“Sheriff Samaniego recognized that we need to do something different in trying to recruit the next generation of law enforcement,” explained Captain Mark Bishop from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. “So we were trying to think of ways to reach that next generation of law enforcement, and that was where the types of spots we’re airing, and the location of those spots, came to be.”

The sheriff’s office started running these ads and putting up billboards as part of a new campaign to recruit potential new deputies who may never have considered law enforcement before.

“We felt like selling some of the other positive aspects of the job,” said Bishop. “The fact that you can make a positive difference in someone else’s life, but also having some positive impacts in your own life. Getting three and four days off every week - who wouldn’t want that? So it opens up some new possibilities for your family life. The more diverse the backgrounds are for the people we’re hiring, the more effective we’re going to be.”

The sheriff’s office says 20 years ago, they would advertise an opening and offer the screening test once a year, with hundreds of applicants showing up. Now, they offer it once a month and are seeing a lot fewer applicants in an already-tight job market.

“As we’ve seen the drop in applicants in recent years, it’s important for us to really go out and find those people,” Bishop explained.

So, the sheriffs office partnered with local ad firm High Noon Media to produce these spots and target them to millennials and Gen Z workers looking to make a difference.

“The key point is us trying to reach those that have never given any consideration to law enforcement,” Bishop continued. “And trying to pique their interest and encouraging them to give us a call.”

While it’s early, the department says it’s already seeing a significant increase in traffic to its Instagram page and Indeed site, which is where these ads are sending potential applicants.

Here is the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Indeed page.

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