What will the police forces look like in 10 years?
Yep. It will resemble that lonely sound unless administrators get to rock and rolling their recruiting campaigns.
Many veterans will have retired, leaving very young departments. Additionally, new recruits are in shortage and it does not look like organizations will be filling up big gaps anytime soon.
How do police chiefs appeal to the new wave of crimefighters? One thing is for sure, law enforcement will be new generational material: Millennials and Generation Z (1995-2015).
We probably have come to understand what we get with Millennials, but what about Generation Z characteristics? How do you market to the new generations to beef up your police force?
I took a look at a solution to the employee deficit facing cops to give administrators the best rundown on new marketing techniques for law enforcement.
Focus. Know your target market. Your marketing strategy has to be edgy. If it isn’t, it will fall flat.
Is Gen Z for me?
Gen Z as I will call it, use their smartphones a lot. I hope they can drop it enough to pay attention to situational awareness and public safety.
Emotional intelligence might need to be amped up through longer training and more experience.
One thing is for sure, they watch television less than us Gen Xers and so, perhaps, they will not have an inflated view of CSI, nor believe every cop is a John McClane.
That is because they have no clue about those screen personalities. Maybe it would have been more relatable if I had used Captain America, Supergirl, or Superman.
See. I already show the age difference.
Training might be a challenge unless you can do it through a Kiosk. I wonder if FTOs can turn Gen Z computer multitasking with 7 windows open into real street work.
One thing I do like is their cynical side. It would be like bringing in a salty veteran attitude on Day 1. That might be a little annoying at first. But, maybe not. At least you could work with it.
In order to intrigue Gen Zers, policing needs to focus on cool stuff- like advanced equipment with all the whistles and bells. You won’t find a Gen Zer diggin’ the old hoopties with 60-100K on them.
But they might be interested in driving a souped up Hellcat. Everything automated. Just sayin’. Plus, they will look cool stepping out of a mean machine.
However, there is a glitch with the car thing. No, it isn’t just the price tag.
On the flip side, Gen Zers prefer the latest and greatest but not really the thrill rides and unique encounters. Don’t advertise that. Keep it on the down low.
Maybe start with smart guns. Those seem to appeal to the younger side. However, I visualize a lot of bugs in that design.
If your computer is on the fritz, Gen Zers are phenomenal with being techno-savvy. You might find they will fancy running and fixing the robots for SWAT operations. They might make good bomb techs.
Perhaps your intel situation will be first class and organized without having to track down your 30 year veteran with a steel trap memory.
They are true digital geniuses.
Opposite of what we think with computer nerds, is the fact that Gen Zers are pushing to be leaders. It is likely they will seek opportunities to bolster management skills. Like a boss.
Surprisingly, Gen Z candidates like to get involved with doing things themselves, rather than paying someone to do it. So, in that respect, they will be great at hands on things like: (1) foot pursuits, (2) changing flat tires, (3) MacGuyvering things, and (4) getting out of the car for a little community policing.
Activate the Gen Z
A worry might be a Gen Z dilly dallying on a long contemplation during a dynamic situation which requires split second decision making. Or, them giving John Doe too many options and then story-boarding the choices so it takes up the day coming to a resolution.
It is no shocker that Gen Z candidates are activists. What better place to put them in than in law enforcement. It is here they can dive in to change and a bonus-on the front line-the first level.
Each call is a potential for a change agent in the making. Maybe they can get a grip on the United States drug problem or bad parenting craze.
I can see the advertising slogans now: “We Are The Change”. It sounds a little sci-fi. “The Changlings?” Nope, wrong movie reference.
They are woke. I am woke, too. After a pot of coffee. Apparently, my alarm seemed to go off a little early today.
Fill the niche!
So how do you appeal to their independent side? They really desire to turn their hobbies into a career and might try their hand at entrepreneurship.
Somehow, you need to filter in how policing can fill that niche.
Certified specialties for outside contracts? Although, becoming an expert is not like taking a fast chute ride down Candyland.
What is the best route to take? I haven’t a clue. I don’t follow a path, I trail blaze. After all, I’m a Gen X.
Don’t micromanage me.
Get those unique campaigns going. Remember Gen Zers have HUGE dreams. Make your department attractive and full of opportunities. You have to be the Big Deal.
Don’t fake it through false advertising, though. They research. That stuff only worked on us Gen Xers who watched too much Dirty Harry and Hill Street Blues.
Regardless of the times, crimefighting must go on. Gen Z are slated as go-getters and justice-minded. Policing definitely needs a few of those.