A recruitment video, created as part of the Owensboro Police Department's effort to attract more officer candidates, was recognized recently by a national awards organization.

The video, along with other efforts by the city to improve officer pay, has helped with the department's efforts to attract qualified officer candidates.

The video was created as OPD, like other police agencies, works to attract officer candidates. Law enforcement agencies are competing with the private sector, which generally pays higher wages than government jobs like law enforcement.

OPD Chief Art Ealum said previously concerns about possible changes to the state's pension system also affected department staffing by prompting some officers to retire.

Although the video has only been on the department's Web page and Facebook page since February, officials believe it has helped with recruiting, Ealum said.

OPD and city officials have made several efforts to increase the number of people who apply for officer jobs. Last year, for example, city commissioners approved a series of bonuses officers will receive after they have reached a certain number of years of service. The department has increased the number of times it holds hiring processes, and officials regularly attend job fairs at colleges and universities.

Those efforts have resulted in more people applying for officer jobs, Ealum said.

"I would say, in this last hiring process, we had more applicants come through, and the quality has improved," he said.

The video shows officers talking about how they became involved in law enforcement, what they enjoy about working at OPD and the department's connection to the community.

Ealum said the idea behind the video was to attract qualified applicants to the department by showing officers as people with lives and families.

"Every (agency) has gadgets and equipment," Ealum said. "But we wanted to show we aren't looking for robots, we are looking for people. (It's) everyday folks we want to hear and recruit from."

Officer Andrew Boggess, public information officer for the department, said the video "gets people to think about the diverse nature of law enforcement."

"I think the video was well-received, and it does show the capabilities of our department, and our officers, their capabilities and the things they do," Boggess said.

Wonder Boy Media was honored by the Telly Awards and received a bronze award in the "people's choice" category for best social media commercials.

"It was quite an honor," Wonder Boy Vice President Drew Hardesty said Monday when presenting a plaque of the award to the Owensboro Police Department. "We were very humbled by it."

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

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