Mayor Frey, City of Minneapolis launch new MPD and 911 recruitment campaign

March 6, 2024

Today, Mayor Jacob Frey, Community Safety Commissioner Todd Barnette, City Operations Officer Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara, and 911/MECC Director Joni Hodne announced the launch of a multi-year, comprehensive recruitment campaign for hard-to-fill positions in 911 and the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). 

Cities across the country are grappling with staffing shortages in critical public safety departments. Minneapolis is competing with local governments across the state and U.S. to recruit and retain officers. Mayor Frey and the City of Minneapolis have invested in a new effort – a marketing campaign centered around recruiting talented, community-oriented individuals to apply for hard-to-fill public safety careers like 911 call takers and police officers.

“This campaign is simply about the livelihood and safety of our city, about protecting and saving lives,” said Mayor Frey. “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.”

In September 2023, the City contracted with a professional services firm to build out a multi-year strategy and paid-media campaign. Over the past six months, staff from Human Resources, the Office of Community Safety (including MPD and 911), and the Mayor’s Office have been working with the firm to understand the complexities of this effort and formulate a strategy that will fit the City’s hiring needs both now and in the future.

“This campaign is so important as we reimagine and redevelop the City’s preventative, restorative, and responsive services,” said Community Safety Commissioner Toddrick Barnette. “A fully-staffed police department and a fully-staffed emergency communications center are critical elements of our community safety ecosystem. The current officers and 9-1-1 staff are doing amazing work, but we need more sworn and civilian staff to meet the demand for community safety services. We’re hopeful that our recruitment efforts will bring us the staff we need to ensure that City services will be there when it matters most.”

“We are optimistic this campaign will produce great candidates who will serve our citizens with honor and respect,” said Police Chief Brian O’Hara. “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.”

“Oftentimes the very first step in helping save a life is responding to a 911 call,” said 911/MECC Director Joni Hodne. “If you are looking for a career where you can be part of an incredible team and help others during their time of need, you should look no further than the Minneapolis Emergency Call Center. Imagine Yourself making an impact in someone’s life, come join our team today.

The initial phase of the “Imagine Yourself” campaign will be aimed at attracting people ages 18-44 that live within 300 miles of Minneapolis. These individuals will be targeted through multimedia elements including include a new website, social media content on Meta (Facebook and Instagram) and LinkedIn, Google ads, YouTube ads, job board placements, email messages, video content, billboards, and flyers. In addition to English, some of these materials will be accessible in the three commonly-spoken languages in Minneapolis – Somali, Spanish, and Hmong.

In 2022, Mayor Frey dedicated, and the City Council approved, $7M in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for future recruitment, retention, and hiring support. This budget item included intentions for a targeted advertising campaign for hard-to-fill positions in both MPD and 911.

This comprehensive marketing campaign is just one piece of the City’s overall recruitment plan. The City’s HR team will continue to implement additional recruitment strategies for other positions in the Enterprise, which will be rolling out over the course of the next year.

Complimenting this new campaign, the MPD and Chief O’Hara have been working to bolster their own boots-on-the-ground recruitment efforts, at the local and national levels. Some of their 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 visiting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (resulted in a partnership with HBCU Alabama A&M University)  
  • Going to military bases across the country

The City and the MPD have also taken steps to streamline the application and background checks process to get qualified applicants in the door as fast as possible, and the City has moved civilian recruiters from MPD to HR in order to more effectively assist candidates through the hiring process.

More information on the "Imagine Yourself” campaign can be found on the City’s website.