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Move over, Taylor Swift. Open up YouTube on your computer, and along with the myriad music videos, stupid cat trick videos, and how-to videos for everything you could ever attempt as a do-it-yourselfer, there is a new content creator online – the MIPD.

The Marco Island Police Department produced their first-ever video on their second social media platform in April, a recruitment piece aimed at attracting job applicants to be inspired to come to work for the department. Their first online venture was creation of a twitter feed, which continues to be a primary way for the island’s police force to get out law enforcement-related announcements.

The new video, produced with major assistance from the Collier Sheriff’s Office, clocks in at one minute, seven seconds, and by and large, lets the pictures do the talking. The only words spoken in the video come at the end, when Police Chief Al Schettino, standing on the beach surrounded by police vehicles and personnel, utters his and the video’s only dialogue: “Come join our team, and help us protect paradise.”

One could be forgiven for thinking that the principal inducement to joining the MIPD is the ability to drive on the beach, with quick cuts showing police motorcycles, SUVs, and the department’s splashy graphic-emblazoned Jeep driving on sand – something that was otherwise only possible if you lived in Daytona Beach in the early 1960s.

“I think a critical element is we’re trying to sell Marco Island as a community, not just the police department,” said Schettino.

“People have high expectations for the quality of your product,” said police captain Dave Baer. “You are judged by what you put out there. We didn’t want to have a cellphone video representing us.”

Recruiting for law enforcement has become very competitive, said Baer. “You could say, the recruiting pool has dried up to a recruiting puddle. Everybody’s competing for the same candidates.”

Currently, said Schettino, the MIPD has “seven plus two” open positions – seven for sworn officers, and two for auxiliaries. Part of the staffing crunch, he said, is the result of the department assigning officers full time to each of the island’s schools, which is already in place.

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“It’s a very serious commitment. We were rotating them on a part-time basis.”

Cop-TV, the sequel is in the works.

“We’re working on another video, also for recruiting, more highlighting the features and assets of the island,” said Schettino. “We’ll show the beach, deep-sea fishing – the things you can do when you’re not on duty. There’s no end to the subjects” that the department could cover in video, once they gain more familiarity with the medium, he said.

Meanwhile, the MIPD is tweeting up a storm.

“We have over 6,000 followers,” said Baer – “6,431 to be precise,” he amended after a quick check of his screen. The MIPD Twitter handle is @MarcoIslandPD, and messages cover everything from notices about keeping lights off the beach during turtle nesting season to reminders bicyclists must obey traffic signs, smoke alarms need to be replaced after 10 years, and a retweet from the Collier Sheriff’s Office about a missing 13-year-old girl. Additional tweets include wanted posters, “end of watch” notices for deceased law officers around the country, a reminder that police will “install special air vents” (smash your car windows) if you leave your dog in a hot car, and even an announcement of the new MIPD YouTube video.

Cybercrime has become an increasingly prominent component of the police mission, with online “trolls” preying on youth, and children living more and more of their lives online, away from adult supervision. A stack of brochures – the old-fashioned, dead tree printed on paper kind – at the police station include tips about identity theft, a parent’s guide to internet safety, and a quiz listing common text message abbreviations. “Your kids can fill in the blanks. Can you?” asks the card, with acronyms including POS – parent over shoulder, SLAP – sounds like a plan, and many more no one over 30 is likely to get right away.

It’s a brave new (online) world out there, but the MIPD – you know what that stands for – is working to stay with it. Access the new police video at https://youtu.be/Xp6TgNCRBXE, or search for Marco Island Police on YouTube.

 

 

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