MPD kicks off ad campaign for more officers

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The Memphis Police Department kicked off a campaign Monday to recruit more police officers, using a famous face to pitch the plan.

Department officials said they were shooting for the top, hoping to bring in a lot of good recruits with a very aggressive campaign.

The commercials feature actual MPD officers.

"It was fun - very interesting. First time I ever did anything like that," Mike Denman of the Memphis Police Department said.

Even movie tough guy Steven Seagal has signed on to help the department's recruitment effort.

"Our goal is to attract the best, most skillful, diversified applicant base to be in an honorable position," Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin said.

The Memphis City Council gave the department funds to hire 500 officers over the next several years. According to Godwin, the department loses 60 to 70 officers a year because of attrition.

Godwin said the department has not done a good job of letting possible job applicants know about the benefits of being a police officer, which include a starting salary of $39,000.  The position requires only a high school education. If you want to go to college, that will be paid for, and you can you retire after 25 years.

Patrol Officer Cassandra Leake, who also appears in a recruiting commercial, said she has always wanted to be an officer because her father was one. She said there are a lot of opportunities for women.

"With our department we have all kinds of different jobs. They can get involved, so its not just about patrolling," Leake said.

Officer Leake teachers the D.A.R.E. program in Memphis City schools.

The Memphis Police Department may even recruit in other cities and states if enough applicants don't come from the Memphis. The marketing campaign will last 18 months.

Click here to e-mail Janice Broach.