(Updated at 5 p.m.) The Fairfax County Police Department has turned to advertising to help address vacancies.
The department has signed a contract with Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Epic Recruiting to deliver digital marketing services and materials. Operational expenses for police recruiting have already more than quadrupled this budget year.
“We continue to look for the best candidates to serve Fairfax County,” the FCPD said in a statement. “If you or anyone you know is interested in learning about all our department has to offer, please visit www.joinfcpd.org or contact a recruiter today at FCPDRecruit@fairfaxcounty.gov.”
According to county staff, the FCPD’s recruitment-related operating expenses were in the low $40,000s for fiscal years 2019 and 2020, rose to nearly $66,000 in FY 2021, and have exceeded $272,000 for the current fiscal year 2022, which ends on June 30.
Details of the contract were released after this story published through a public-records request, showing that the $200,000 contract includes $65,000 for a 12-month online recruiting campaign, $65,000 for video and photography work, $35,000 for a recruitment website, and more.
As of April 13, the department had 151 vacancies and 1,333 sworn officers. It said its recruiters continue to host and participate in hiring events throughout the county and are adapting and developing new and innovative ways to reach applicants.
The FCPD initially declined to comment on the contract, saying it’s not complete so there aren’t any measurable results at this point.
Epic Recruiting Chief Creative Officer Alex Johnston said his company has been working with FCPD for about a month, finding compelling stories about Fairfax County police to showcase in digital advertising. The business is slated to start filming for ads in coming weeks, though it might take two months before they launch.
According to Johnston, the Tracy Police Department in California, near Sacramento, eliminated an 18% vacancy rate in four months after Epic ran an ad campaign, noting that it was coupled with other city-led efforts, such as a $1,000 referral bonus.
“These progressive agencies are the ones that are getting ahead of this,” Johnston said of police vacancies.
The FCPD’s recruitment levels have fluctuated over the past half-decade, from a high of 73 new sworn officers in 2019 to a low of 59 in 2020. The department is projected to add 60 sworn officers this year, down from 95 in 2021, and 71 in 2023, county staff told Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity.
“Until we fix the compensation issues and are competitive in compensation, we’re going to continue to struggle,” said Herrity, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ lone Republican member. “You can recruit all you want. You’re not going to retain them if you don’t compensate them.”
He said he doesn’t necessarily disagree with the recruiting strategy, saying the county has to be more creative, but the spending sounded a little bit high to him.
With a pre-markup meeting set for today (Friday) at 3 p.m., the board plans to set aside $6.1 million for a step increase for qualified uniformed public safety workers, including police, the sheriff’s office, and firefighters who were hired on or before June 30, 2021, according to a budget document.
He previously proposed 10% raises for various police officers and said he thinks there needs to be more spent than the $6.1 million currently on the table.
Meanwhile, total personnel costs related to recruitment have climbed from nearly $365,000 in fiscal year 2021 to almost $581,000 this year, as of March 31. The FCPD is on track to reach $735,000 at the end of this fiscal year and plans to spend over $758,000 in the upcoming budget year, which starts on July 1.
Photo via FCPD/Facebook
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Camps are just the beginning of what’s in store at Art House 7 this summer. We’re thrilled to offer an array of exciting classes for both kids and adults!Rediscover your creativity with some of our AH7 favorites, such as drawing, hand-sewing, modern embroidery, and our popular 3-week Jump into Crochet classes. But that’s not all! We’ve added some fresh and exciting options to our summer class selection, guaranteed to spark your imagination.
To enhance your artistic journey, we have intensified some of our Ceramics: The Wheel classes to a full 3-hour duration. This extended time allows for more creativity and skill development in each class session. If you’re eager for a captivating twist, give Contemporary Still-Life Drawing & Painting a go. Or why not try an immersive outdoor painting adventure? We have a unique opportunity for you to bring your painting skills to life while learning and creating in the great outdoors with our Landscape Painting: Studio and Plein Air class!
We invite you to visit our website and explore our full Summer Session schedule, brimming with a diverse range of classes and camps. Classes and camps begin June 20th. Unleash your inner artist, broaden your horizons, and embark on a summer adventure like no other. Let’s make this a summer to remember at Art House 7!
Potomac Harmony Chorus has a new director! We’re ready
to kick off the season with new music, a new approach, and YOU!
Potomac Harmony is one of 500 choruses in Sweet
Adelines International. We’re a vibrant,
contemporary, inclusive, welcoming, and open community of women singers who
perform four-part harmony, barbershop style, committed to a high level of
achievement through teaching, mentoring, personal growth, and performance. Our vision is to entertain, educate, and
enrich lives through musical expression while promoting the barbershop art
Potomac Harmony recently had our first performance
with our new director, receiving rave reviews! We invite you to stop by any Wednesday
evening and be part of the fun and harmony!
Army Birthday Festival – Free and Fun
Make Saturday, June 10, 2023 a great day!
Come celebrate the Army Birthday Festival at the National Museum of the U.S. Army from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Rain or Shine!
• Experience outdoor and indoor fun activities, for all
Unveiling of West Ford historical highway marker
Gum Springs will be celebrating 190 years of its founding by freedman West Ford on Saturday, June 17, 2023. To kick-off the celebration, there will be an unveiling of a Virginia historical highway marker for West Ford on Fordson Road