Ads go far to warm up cops recruiting - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Ads go far to warm up cops recruiting

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Posted: Friday, April 20, 2007 6:23 am | Updated: 6:33 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Those of us who moved to Arizona many years ago from points east — a time before the Internet or, apparently, history and travel books were easily available at local libraries — remember how our relatives wondered aloud about our decisions to move here.

View police recruitment poster

Times have changed since those days of: “Do they have running water out there?”

Today, Easterners have more respect, and many openly wish they were “out there.”

Boston Globe columnist Brian McGrory has been here a couple of times already, which he surely looks back fondly upon because, as he told me by phone Thursday, Boston just received five inches of rain.

He talked up Scottsdale in his Wednesday column, writing that it is in Arizona, “home to blue skies, 80-degree spring days and this big round yellow thing we used to call the sun.”

The reason behind all these wonderful words? Scottsdale’s Police Department, which, recruiting officer Greg Carlin told me Thursday just as he told McGrory, has been looking for recruits in Boston, where Carlin said it’s hard to break into local police forces.

In his column, McGrory wrote that he came across Scottsdale police’s “eye-level” recruiting ad in a men’s restroom at Fenway Park during a recent Boston Red Sox game.

And in Cincinnati and Seattle, too, said Carlin, who added that the ads appear in women’s restrooms in stadiums as well.

The effort follows one last year where the ads were in stadiums at Arizona State University, Detroit and Milwaukee.

The ad, which police emailed me Thursday, features a representation of a Scottsdale police badge. “We’re hiring,” it says simply, and gives the department’s Web site address and phone number.

McGrory’s column netted 10 phone calls as of mid-afternoon Thursday, Carlin said. He’s going to need more, because “conservatively, we’d love to hire 50 to 60 people in the next fiscal year.”

Carlin told me pretty much what he had told McGrory: that the number of homegrown applicants isn’t keeping pace with open positions, which are funded in part by a sales tax increase Scottsdale voters approved in 2004 for public safety. And Valley police forces are competing with each other, Carlin said.

“The market’s dry here,” he said. “We’re looking for people who want to be cops and make a career change.”

The city wants people “who say I don’t want the harsh winters, I like 80 degrees and can handle a couple of (hot) months in the summer,” Carlin said.

Which brings me back to McGrory, who told me he had just been in Scottsdale.

“I love your town,” he said. “I was last out there in November with a set of golf clubs.”

From his description, Boston’s recent weather may get those ads more attention.

“Today was the first day in three weeks we’ve seen the sun,” McGrory told me. “It’s 50 degrees and we’re all raving here about how great that is.”

Boston folks should know that we have running water.

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