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5 police recruitment videos that think outside the box

Video is a must-have for your police department’s recruitment toolkit; check out our top picks for some inspiration


Editor’s note: This special coverage series, Recruitment & Retention Crisis: The Struggle to Hire – and Keep – Good Cops, will take an in-depth look at the recruitment and retention challenges currently facing police agencies, share potential solutions to the crisis and highlight best practices progressive PDs are deploying to bolster their ranks. Watch for further installments of this series throughout the rest of 2017.

Police recruitment videos come in all shapes and sizes, from the inspirational to the emotional to the downright hilarious. These diverse approaches work to inform communities about the multi-faceted nature of policing, while humanizing the cops working the streets, and encouraging new recruits to both identify with and be inspired by those officers.

If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next police recruitment video storyboard, check out these Police1 favorites from this past year. Share your favorites in the comments section below.

1. Chewbacca joins the Fort Worth Police Department

The latest recruitment romp from the Fort Worth Police Department features Chewbacca as the agency’s newest Wookiee.

In the video, Chewie and his FTO conduct traffic stops, annihilate the shooting range and scare a fellow recruit half to death during use-of-force training.

Police1 readers may recall this is not the first time the department has turned to “Star Wars” for creative inspiration; last year the department took a Stormtrooper out to the range to promote the PD’s newest academy class and prior to that, Darth Vader proved a challenging candidate during his police interview.

2. New Zealand Police ask, “Do you care enough to be a cop?”

In a series of heartfelt and emotional videos for its “Do you care enough to be a cop?” campaign, New Zealand Police used actors to pose as people in need of assistance.

Videos featured a man lying on a busy sidewalk and an elderly woman in her nightclothes, obviously lost and in need of help. The majority of the members of the public featured in the videos go about their daily lives without stepping in to help, but a select few intervene and offer the assistance the actors need.

In this video, a young boy rummages through trash cans looking for food, while dozens of members of the public walk by. Finally, two young women stop to help the child, offering him food and money.

“We’re looking to recruit empathetic people with the natural instinct to help those in need and to make things better – we’re confident the campaign will help to attract the right people,” said James Whitaker, National Manager Brand & Engagement for New Zealand Police.

3. Melbourne Police Department: Born For This

In what feels more like a trailer for a Hollywood blockbuster, the folks at the Melbourne Police Department offer breathtaking views and heart-racing action coupled with a rousing soundtrack to attract cops to their diverse department.

The video depicts police officers scaling high-rise buildings, K9 teams searching for escaped convicts, police divers going overboard and undercover officers working drug deals.

This video gets our thumbs-up for best cinematography!

4. Danbury Police: Do You Want to be a Danbury Officer?

Cheesy humor coupled with lots of information makes for a fun, fact-filled video from the Danbury Police Department. Lieutenant Vincent Daniello shows new recruits what it is like to be a cop in this Connecticut town, outlining what happens as you move through the police academy, pass field training, become a patrol officer and, after a few years, move on to various specialty units.

Lt. Daniello is a natural host and we hope they come up with a sequel soon.

5. Portland Police: Join the Best

“The best people who are going to be police officers today in the city of Portland are going to be the ones with a compassionate heart.”

Compassion and empathy are the focus of this video from the Portland Police Department. Several police officers narrate their stories of how they got into law enforcement and their varied backgrounds.

The video focuses on diversity and the value this agency places on having police officers that reflect the community the city serves. It also highlights the investments the city has made in state-of-the-art training to prepare officers to work through many scenarios and hone those skills it takes to be a good cop.

We think this video speaks to the very nature of what it means to be a police officer: to help people and serve your community.

Nancy Perry is Editor-in-Chief of Police1 and Corrections1, responsible for defining original editorial content, tracking industry trends, managing expert contributors and leading the execution of special coverage efforts.

Prior to joining Lexipol in 2017, Nancy served as an editor for emergency medical services publications and communities for 22 years, during which she received a Jesse H. Neal award. In 2022, she was honored with the prestigious G.D. Crain Award at the annual Jesse H. Neal Awards Ceremony. She has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Sussex in England and a master’s degree in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California. Ask questions or submit ideas to Nancy by e-mailing