Las Vegas cars bear advertisements for casinos, restaurants, burlesque shows — and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
The vehicles look like average police cars, but “recruitment team” and a phone number are scrawled across the doors. The cars are part of the department’s ongoing effort to hire, Recruitment Officer Larry Douglas said.
A team of about six recruitment officers has driven the advertisements on wheels for about four years. The department also advertises on social media, and this year it placed billboards on the Strip and southbound Interstate 15.
“We’re always looking for officers, but especially now because the city is growing,” he said.
Recruitment officers take the vehicles anywhere they’re doing a presentation, including job fairs and schools. It’s a way for people to interact with police officers outside their normal duties, Douglas said.
“A lot of times people will just see the arrests that police officers make, as opposed to realizing we’re just people,” he said.
Douglas said there’s no way to quantify how many recruits have joined because of the vehicles but added that he has seen the numbers increase the past few years. There are about 600 officers in the department, along with civilian employees such as dispatchers.
“As a recruiter, I love to see that the interest is up,” he said.
Recruitment Officer Daryl Keithley said he notices a reaction when he’s driving the recruitment vehicles: phone calls, friendly conversations and thumbs-up gestures.
“They’re very eye-catching and people like them, and we definitely get a lot of questions (about) them,” Keithley said about the vehicles.
The department has established new recruiting techniques this year, he said. Police academy classes are held every month instead of a few times a year. The application process is five to seven months, nearly half what is was when academies were held less frequently.
“That gets them in quicker as more people graduate,” Keithley said.
He was assigned as a military police officer when he joined the Army out of high school. After the Army, he worked as an officer in Missouri for 12 years before moving to Las Vegas, where he has been with the department for 21 years.
Recruitment officer likely will be his last assignment before retirement, Keithley said.
Contact Katelyn Newberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.