Va. police hosting ‘Hot Cop’ meet and greet as part of latest recruiting push
Dubbed “Norfolk’s finest,” officers Sean Gilley and Anthony Marquez were catapulted to internet fame after a Facebook photo of the pair went viral
By Caitlyn Burchett
NORFOLK, Va. — The Norfolk Police Department is spicing up its recruitment tactics as the agency struggles to hire officers faster than it is losing them.
Two Norfolk officers who recently went viral for their good looks will meet with community members Thursday during the Waterside District’s Night Market.
Dubbed “Norfolk’s finest,” officers Sean Gilley and Anthony Marquez were catapulted to internet fame after a Facebook photo of the pair eating birthday cake at the station went viral on Sept. 19.
Comments flooded in — 31,000 to be exact. Mixed between women joking that Norfolk’s crime rate was about to hit an all-time high, dripping with sexual undertones, were a few comments asking if the agency was hiring.
“And it is,” said Janet Aguilar, spokesperson for the Waterside District, in a press release.
Despite issuing competitive pay raises and offering citizens as much as an additional $12,000 to don a uniform and badge, Norfolk’s police force is down 255 officers — 32.8% below full staffing level.
According to spokesperson William Pickering, 31 officers have left or retired since April. In the same timeframe, 23 were hired.
Gilley and Marquez will take photos with community members and sign autographs from 6 to 7:30 p.m. to “support the Norfolk Police Department’s recruitment efforts,” Aguilar said.
Members of the department’s recruitment office will also be on-hand to meet with those interested in wearing a badge.
The meet and greet is just one of the agency’s latest tactics to recruit officers.
Throughout the summer, a Norfolk Police Department hiring ad was splashed across a subway window in New York City, which WVEC-TV reported cost the police department around $50,000.
It is unclear how successful the subway advertisement was. As of Oct. 4, Pickering said Norfolk had not hired any out-of-state officers.
The agency soaked up the online attention after Gilley and Marquez rocketed the Norfolk Police Department to fame. The pair have since been featured on the police force’s TikTok page and Twitter page with the hashtag “#NorfolksFinest.”