Wanted: applicants for the nation’s 4th largest police department. Physical agility and ability to pass background check required. Must be willing to work long hours in sometimes dangerous situations.
Sense of humor preferred?
One local cop has turned to Twitter, and jokes, in an effort to boost the department’s application numbers
“There’s a quiet nerdiness that we have as cops,” says Lt. Stephen Clark, one of 53 authorized Twitter users in the 6,600-member department. “a lot of A-team and Chuck Norris humor.”
Clark, who oversees strategic planning for the Philadelphia police department isn’t attached to the recruiting department. But the department’s Twitter users — he goes by the handle @PPDsteveclark — are given pretty wide latitude on social media.
He took it upon himself to create a handful of memes that quietly make fun of the job he’s trying to promote because he worries the department’s enrollment numbers have been hurt by some of the criticism the force has received in recent months.
“Transform yourself. Grow a moustache, wear a leather jacket.” reads one tweet, which features Clark and a batch of fellow cops looking very un-undercover.
“That was actually a picture of me and a couple of guys I worked with,” Clark said. “We’d have a moustache month, and whoever grew the biggest one got a case of beer that month or pizza from wherever.”
He said using Twitter allows him to reach a lot more potential recruits, and yes, he has gotten some response from people looking for jobs with the department.
“When I was on patrol, our means of recruiting was word of mouth,” Clark said. “I worked in some of the tougher neighborhoods. We want to represent all the neighborhoods in Philadelphia.”
The 20-year veteran creates the meme’s himself during his off hours, mostly referencing stuff he liked as a kid.
He’s a big fan of the A-Team, and he has a few Office Space jokes, and the movie “Trading Places,” which is set, of course, in Philadelphia. He’s photoshopped a couple of AT-AT walkers from the Star Wars movies to make snowy streets look like the ice planet Hoth. A He-Man meme is forthcoming.
“People don’t see that other side,” Clark said. “They only see us putting handcuffs on people We have a lighter side that we try to keep, even though the job can be kind of grim sometimes.”