Thursday, September 26, 2002

TV, radio ads recruit minorities for police force

By Jane Prendergast,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Cincinnati Police Department has gone prime time on network TV stations with its effort to make the force more diverse.

        Two new commercials advertising the department's October recruit exam started airing this week on networks and cable.

        It's the first time veterans can remember the force going so high profile to boost recruiting. It comes in the wake of a Justice Department civil rights investigation of Cincinnati police and settlement of a federal lawsuit alleging decades of discrimination against blacks in the city this year.

        City officials showed the commercials Wednesday at City Hall. Their theme: “Take the test — police work is a way to make a difference.”

        They show a black woman saying she took the test to be a good role model for her daughter. A white woman says she took the test as a way to make a difference in her neighborhood. Their civilian clothes morph into uniforms with badges as the commercial continues.

        Mayor Charlie Luken and City Manager Valerie Lemmie said the effort isn't just to target minorities, but to increase the quantity and quality of all recruits who sign up to take the Oct. 26 test.

        The 1,020-member force is about 30 percent African-American and about 20 percent female. A 20-year-old consent decree dictates each recruit class be one-third minority, which has resulted in a more diverse police force than many other similar-size cities.

        The commercials, with three radio spots, cost about $65,000 to produce. The department will spend about $210,000 more on airtime.

        There are more ways to sign up than ever: at the city's Human Resources office, 805 Central Ave., suite 200; by phone, 352-2971, where someone will take your address and mail an application; at any one of the five districts; and at


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