(The Center Square) – Mayor Jacob Frey and city of Minneapolis officials announced a new police recruitment campaign reaching a range of 300 miles after losing more than 300 officers since 2020.

“Imagine Yourself” is meant to attract people ages 18-44 targeted through a new website, social media content on Meta and LinkedIn, Google ads, YouTube ads, job board placements, email messages, video content, billboards and flyers.

The campaign follows an exodus of police officers after George Floyd was killed while in the custody of Minneapolis Police Department officers on May 25, 2020. Riots caused an estimated $500 million in damage.

The number of licensed police officers has dropped from 825 in 2020 to about 517 in 2023 to protect 425,000 Minneapolis residents.

A 2023 University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School paper says the city of Minneapolis reported 32 murders and 860 police officers in 2011. The paper says with 860 officers in 2019, the city couldn’t respond to 6,776 Priority One 911 calls, which typically include reports of shootings, stabbings and sexual assaults.

Jacob Frey Holds "Mayor On Your Block" Event Ahead Of Minneapolis Election
Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey (Getty Images)

In 2022, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled the city must hire more police to have at least 731 sworn officers in adherence to the city's charter.

“This campaign is simply about the livelihood and safety of our city, about protecting and saving lives,” Frey said in a statement. “We need to be competitive as an employer in this marketplace, and that means pursuing every available option to staff critical community safety departments. Imagine yourself here. Start your career here. Turn your passion into a career. Find meaningful work here in Minneapolis.”

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In 2022, Frey dedicated and the City Council approved $7 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding for future recruitment, retention and hiring.

Community Safety Commissioner Toddrick Barnette said fully-staffed emergency services are “critical” to community safety.

“A fully-staffed Police Department and a fully-staffed emergency communications center are critical elements of our community safety ecosystem," he said. "The current officers and 911 staff are doing amazing work, but we need more sworn and civilian staff to meet the demand for community safety services.

Police Chief Brian O’Hara welcomed the campaign.

“We are optimistic this campaign will produce great candidates who will serve our citizens with honor and respect,” O’Hara said in a statement. “Policing has always been and will continue to be a noble profession where people can find their calling for public service and experience true purpose in meaningful work.”

Other recruiting efforts include Step-Up summer internship for local youth; attending career fairs around the city in cultural corridors; regularly visiting colleges across the country, including historically Black colleges and universities; and going to military bases across the country.

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Gallery Credit: Lauren Wells

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