SCMPD launches billboard recruitment campaign - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

SCMPD launches billboard recruitment campaign

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police have launched a billboard recruiting campaign.

This new campaign may help the department that has lost an average of seven officers a month this year.

A billboard on White Bluff near Stephenson went up on Monday morning, and the SCMPD said it is conscience of their locations.

"It's also close to the entrance of Hunter Army Airfield, and with the downsizing of the military, it's just another opportunity, not just with the military, but for those who live in and around the Savannah area," said. Lt. David Gay.

Gay has been on the force for 22 years, and he said the woman at the top is looking for a variety of people to fill a variety of roles in the department.

"Chief Tolbert has been looking at a number of ways to help fill the ranks, and not only when you look at our size, but you look at the specialized units we have to offer, opportunities you can't necessarily get in smaller police departments," he said.

The second billboard is in Pritchardivlle, near Bluffton, and the third is near one of the main gates to Fort Stewart. Employees along White Bluff said they think it's a smart recruitment tool.

"At least they'll have some history and background and training, and I think that instead of pulling someone off the street, that maybe doesn't have the background they do, it would benefit the community," said Brooke Summer of One Cut Above.  

"Some younger people who are looking for that career transition or looking for another opportunity," said Gay.

While the department has been under extreme scrutiny for recent high violent crime numbers, one of the faces of the campaign said she's proud to represent a fresh look.

Officer Lashawn Keller-Ransom is not just a pretty face on a billboard, but she's an officer with the West Chatham Precinct, and she's also a working mom.

"It was a shock to me," Keller-Ransom said when she found out her face was on the billboard. "It was like wow, okay, wow. Thank you. That sounds like a great opportunity."

Just two years with Metro, Keller-Ransom has worked at surrounding agencies but it was the opportunities that drew her to the department in Savannah.   

"There's not much room for growth in their agencies, so if you start off in patrol, you're going to stay in patrol for quite a while," Keller-Ransom said. "Savannah-Chatham Metro on the other hand has a lot of opportunities for growth."

That's what Gay said a lot of people may not know about the department.

"Being an investigator, or being in the traffic unit or working mounted patrol, or some of the other specialized units we have to offer than other agencies, you're going to have to travel far and wide to find a police department that's going to give you those opportunities," Gay said.

The SCMPD has 50 vacant spots at this time, and while two of the three billboards are strategically placed near our military installations, Keller-Ransom said she hopes more females apply.

"The first thing they think about is not a woman in law enforcement, they think of a man, so to change that outlook is great," she said.

The SCMPD said the billboard campaign will last about eight weeks and then assess to see if it really works or not and then plan for the future.

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