The Fort Worth Police Department is in the news once again because of their latest YouTube video. The most recent installment on the agency’s channel features a Fort Worth firearms instructor providing some one-on-one attention to a Storm Trooper. The duo is at the firing range and things aren’t going well. The video spoofs the notoriously inaccurate shooting skills of a “Star Wars” Storm Trooper leaving the firearms instructor in disbelief that he doesn’t have better recruits. FWPD created the spoof to advertise it’s accepting applications for its next academy until December 12, 2016.

Fort Worth Police Department Knows How to Get the Attention of Watchers

Fort Worth’s latest viral sensation doesn’t come as a surprise to many. The Texas police department has embraced social media and used it to its advantage. Other announcement episodes the department has created include an Academy interview with Darth Vader and a ride along with Batman. The superhero is less than thrilled with the officer’s patrol car, which leads the driver to invite Batman to join the department.

The agency also takes on serious issues via YouTube releases. One video on the department’s YouTube channel, Inside FWPD, features a gay officer talking about his experiences with co-workers, administration, and the public. It was created as part of the FWPD’s LGBT recruitment efforts. The officer makes it clear that sexuality isn’t part of the employment process and encourages anyone to apply for consideration.

Fort Worth Police Department Isn’t the Only One Using YouTube to its Advantage

Fort Worth’s latest video is getting a lot of attention, but the agency isn’t the only department using YouTube.  Departments all over the country are starting to take advantage of social media outlets to connect with diverse audiences. Departments are no longer trusting boring, stagnant videos to get the attention of potential candidates. Instead, they are taking on viral challenges, making spoofs, and getting real with the communities they are sworn to protect. Some of the funniest police recruitment ideas we’ve seen come from the Miami Police Department, Norman Police, and a department in Hillsboro, Oregon.

Miami Police Department Tackles Hollywood Policing vs. Real World Policing

For some people, the only thing they know about policing comes from movies made in Hollywood. The recruitment department in Miami, Florida, understands and recognizes this. To better educate people on actual police work in Miami, the recruiting office makes fun of famous action adventure scenes. Viewers get an overview of what to expect when the officer gets instructions from his Captain to make a video about upcoming open positions. He is eager to take on the assignment and has some big ideas.

His first idea includes a heroic helicopter landing complete with explosions and a beautiful cityscape in the background. His next plan opens with the background music of “Cops” playing as the cop rolls out of a patrol car with an automatic rifle ready to go. His third idea allows him to take on the role of Neo in the Matrix. These ideas play on what people think the department does, which conflicts with what officer’s responsibilities are. Before ending the recruitment segment, the officer explains how to apply, how to know if you are eligible to apply, and goes through the application process.

Norman Police Department

Everyone recognizes the music from the movie “Frozen.” Or at least that’s what the Norman Police Department is counting on in their Frozen-spoof. The spoof features a keen recruitment officer using puppets, yoga balls, and some basic ballet moves in attempts to bring attention to the hiring process.

Before the YouTube video, the department had not hired new staff in a long time, which explains the Frozen musical-inspiration. Before the spoof ends, the recruitment officer goes on to explain the process and encourages anyone interested in making Norman their new home to apply.

Hillsboro, Oregon Police Department’s Controversial Recruitment Video

Unlike the two examples mentioned above, the Hillsboro Police Department’s Recruitment video didn’t get all positive reception. In fact, there’s created a bit of controversy because of its tongue-in-cheek stereotypes of citizens and officers in the community. Everything from townies to officers is dramatic. While the video received criticism from some, it did achieve its purpose. It went viral, which means it got the word out about their recruitment program.

How these Videos Break Down Barriers and Encourage Community Involvement

One of the best things about these funny police recruitment ads is they break down barriers between officers and communities. Last week, we discussed police/kid mentoring programs and how they are changing people’s perspectives. The same goes for these creative and unique viral videos. Through mentoring, being active in the community, and showing their human side, officers can reach bigger audiences, which helps them redefine who law enforcement is and what their role in the community is.

Does your community have great mentoring programs for police and children? Have you seen a funny recruitment segment on YouTube? If so, tell us about it in the comments below.