KPD Debuts New Recruiting-Specific Website

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
kfarley@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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KPD Debuts New Recruiting-Specific Website

Posted: 10/01/2020
www.joinknoxpd.comOn October 1, 2020, the Knoxville Police Department officially debuted its new recruiting-specific website, www.joinknoxpd.com, as part of the comprehensive marketing and branding campaign to enhance the department’s recruitment efforts.

The website was designed and created by Robin Easter Design with input from KPD personnel. The creation of a simple, standalone website specific for recruitment was among the top recommendations made by Ackermann Marketing & PR and Robin Easter Design, who have worked together on the KPD marketing and recruitment campaign.

The goal of the website is to more clearly communicate the process and benefits of becoming a KPD officer or employee, speak to target audiences and provide applicants more direct access to recruiters.

“Some other professions offer challenges, rewards, and the chance to serve the community,” KPD recruiter JaJuan Hamilton said. “KPD offers all of these and more, and we are excited to show our potential candidates their possibilities through the new website.”

“The City is eager to connect with service-minded individuals and provide information about the opportunities available at KPD," Mayor Indya Kincannon said. "This new police recruitment website consolidates a lot of helpful information and provides direct access to KPD recruiters."

In addition to the recommendation to create a recruitment-specific website, Ackermann Marketing & PR and Robin Easter Design made numerous additional recommendations to address three key areas where impactful change can happen – application, acquisition and advertising. Those recommendations were made following extensive research that included surveys of current KPD officers as well as those who dropped out of the process, Knoxville residents, active police and military nationwide, comprehensive studies of the recruitment

efforts of numerous nationwide police departments, and over 50 research studies regarding police recruitment.

Other recommendations included the following:

- Shortening the process from application to start of the Academy to 4-5 months. Research found that the length of the process was among the chief compliant of applicants who did not become KPD officers. Research also determined that a shorter timeline would be key in working to attract military and lateral hires.

- Revert to designated time periods when applications are accepted. According to the research developed, this would eliminate the wait between application to the start of the Academy and more clearly define the timeline.

- Enact a communication strategy at specific points in the process to engage applicants, prevent dropouts and encourage viable candidates to reapply.

- Focus on lateral entries. Research showed the lateral entries are an untapped opportunity. The KPD had three lateral entrants – officers who have served at least two years of uninterrupted service at another law enforcement agency – in its latest academy class that started on September 14. Lateral entrants go through an abbreviated Academy and FTO program.

- Create a recruitment liaison team, which would supplement the KPD’s recruitment efforts by maintaining contact and developing relationships with individuals who are in the process of becoming KPD officers.

- Focus on and actively recruit in predominantly black and minority communities and neighborhoods, primarily in Knoxville as well as surrounding areas

As part of the research conducted to develop the advertising messaging, the firms concluded that KPD officers are driven by a desire to help, the KPD offers a huge list of benefits, there is real potential for advancement and career growth with KPD, and the cost of living in Knoxville is a major selling point.

“I am excited to see the department embrace new and innovative ways to recruit our newest team members,” Hamilton said. “The recruiting section is challenged, yet committed to increasing our staffing and maximizing our available resources. We recognize that this will not solve all of our challenges in recruiting but believe this is an important first step.”

“We have recognized that change begins with acknowledging areas that need improvement, listening to internal and external stakeholders, and paying close attention to the recruitment market trends and the best way to tap into them.”

In line with the recommendations, the Knoxville Police Department will be accepting applications for police officers, lateral hires and police cadets October 1-31 in preparation for the next academy class in March. Those interested in applying for any of those positions should refer to www.joinknoxpd.com for links to apply and comprehensive information regarding the process, benefits and contact information. Interested parties can also call 865-215-7111 or email policerecruiter@knoxvilletn.gov.

The KPD entered into a contract with the two Knoxville firms, Ackermann Marketing & PR and Robin Easter Design, in January 2020 after City Council approved funding for a $100,000 marketing and branding campaign. The purpose of the campaign was multi-faceted, but the goals were to enhance the Department’s already-

existing recruitment efforts, increase the number and diversity of applicants and increase the number of hires by using research-driven strategies.

As of October 1, 2020, the Knoxville Police Department has 371 sworn officers, which includes the 18 who graduated from the Training Academy on Tuesday night. The KPD is authorized to carry 416 sworn officers. In addition to that current shortage, around 50 long-tenured officers have the ability to retire in the near future.

“Police departments nationwide face many challenges in recruiting, and we have not been immune to that at the Knoxville Police Department,” Chief of Police Eve Thomas said. “We feel confident that this research-guided campaign will amplify our efforts to recruit and attract as many qualified and diverse candidates as possible, especially from our own community, and to sustain those efforts well into the future.”