The Chief of the Lincoln NE police department has one of the most well-read and highly regarded Chief’s blogs in the country. As an avid blogger, Chief Tom Casady has now expanded the blogging responsibilities all the way down to the very newest recruits. The 18 members of the Spring recruit class at the police academy are taking turns blogging about their experience.

Casady is hoping The Recruit Blog will help the LPD’s recruiting efforts. He said, “I am hoping that applicants or potential applicants who either visit our web site or who we refer directly to the page are intrigued by the first-hand account of the training experience. I think some potential recruits will become more interested if they read about the training.”

The idea for the blog came from a marketing class at the University of Nebraska during the Spring of 2008. The class took on the PD as a “client” to help with the department’s recruitment campaign. He said the students really honed in on the importance of using great electronic communication, especially dynamic web content, for this target audience. Part of the goal was not only to attract more officer recruits but also to recruit higher caliber applicants.

The college students’ design is meant to mimic the notebooks the recruits actually carry. He added, “during their research, they learned that many of our officers carry this notebook, that for several years was made as a “gift” to new recruits by a now-retired officer who was a leather worker.”

Each recruit will blog for one week of the 19-week police academy experience. Their posts are reviewed by the department’s PIO before being posted to be sure they’re appropriate and don’t divulge anything they shouldn’t.

The blog was launched just two days ago so it’s impossible to tell if it’s having the desired effect just yet. But, at the end of the 19 weeks, the LPD may not only have 18 new police officers, but they may also have inadvertently produced officers who are conditioned to incorporate social media tools into their police work. Genius! Maybe some will be future ConnectedCOPS writers.