As the city’s murder rate continues to rise, Baltimore agencies idfive and Kapowza have stepped forward with a new digital recruitment campaign to help the Baltimore Police Department stay ahead of vacancies among the ranks by recruiting a new generation of officers.

Unveiled during a recent press conference, the $200,000 campaign is debuting as a microsite, with digital ads, sponsored content, boosted posts and Google Search running locally under the banner of #AFORCEFORGOOD. A video features Commissioner Michael Harrison, pictured, who joined the department earlier this year from New Orleans.

“We’re hoping this isn’t just the beginning of a productive dialogue, but also a chance to bring in passionate, dedicated police recruits with a love for this city and its people,” Sean Sutherland, director of accounts at Kapowza, told Capitol Communicator.

idfive and Kapowza connected after Sutherland and Chris Smith, idfive’s associate vice president of marketing, attended a pre-bid RFP conference hosted by the BPD and the mayor’s I-Team.

idfive is serving as the lead agency, responsible for generating most of the campaign’s digital ads, web development, and media buying, while Kapowza provides production support, through the development of a narrative commercial and other in-person interviews of BPD staff and Baltimore City.

Dan Schepleng, creative director for Kapowza, and Matt McDermott, associate vice president for idfive, collaborated closely on the campaign theme. All were supported by police spokesman Matt Jablow and members of the mayor’s I-Team, Emily Iancone, Tamika Gauvin and Dan Hymowitz.

Sutherland said the most common misperception found from the research is that policing is an action movie; in reality, it’s more paperwork, community engagement and problem-solving. The recruitment campaign had to capture a more authentic view of this.

idfive and Kapowza also got a chance to see why many departments are challenged with recruiting – in addition to candidates being eliminated because of hiring restrictions related to fitness, drug-use and criminal background, the department has seen a waning interest in policing with younger generations.

The job of the police is increasingly more complex and the stakes, scrutiny have never been higher; that’s led a millennial generation that tends to be more risk-averse to shy away from the profession.

“Creating an emotional connection between the BPD and Baltimore City residents was a tall order for any recruitment campaign,” McDermott said. “It was clear to us that a video statement piece, something to hinge the crux of the campaign around, was key to reaching the department’s goals. We were excited to bring Kapowza in to collaborate on this project and deliver solid video assets to flesh out the campaign.”

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