La Crescent, Minn. (WXOW) – The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association recently launched a six-month public relations campaign they call, Wear the Badge.
The movement serves as a way to address what law enforcement calls a crisis in attracting new officers. Departments aim to address the dwindling number of new recruits into the profession through various methods.
For Sergeant Luke Ahlschlager of the La Crescent Police Department, inspiration for joining the force comes from a passion for helping others. Something he does regularly in many ways since joining the LCPD in 2002.
“Situations that are generally never criminal,” Ahlschlager elaborates, “We problem solve, we mediate, we do our best to alleviate hardship.”
With 2018 on pace to be the lowest year of new Minnesota officers in a decade, stories like Ahlschlager’s are becoming less common. Just one reason why the LCPD joins the movement.
“We try to talk about some of the good things along with some of the negative things and build a connection with the community,” Chief of the La Crescent Police Department Douglas Stavenau continues, “So they understand that we are here for them, that they are just as much us as we are them.”
While no single factor causes the shortage, rate of pay, high turnover and public opinion all contribute to low numbers.
“Instead of the negative and focusing on the things that have happened, let’s invite those outside the profession that may bring that expertise in on their own,” Stavenau adds.
The department plans to use social media to start a line of communication with the communities they serve. Videos and online advertisements will also add to their effort of illustrating the role law enforcement fills.
“To find what is it of society that they expect law enforcement to do to serve in their role of public safety, and how do we accomplish that,” Stavenau explains.
Actions that go along with their overall goal of showing the public why they wear the badge.
“I enjoy every aspect of law enforcement. From car accidents to the quality of life,” Ahlschlager finishes.
To schedule a ride along with the La Crescent Police Department contact them at (507) 895-4414.
You can also learn more about the campaign by visiting the Wear the Badge website.