City recruits officers in TV commercial, website

By The Associated Press

KOKOMO — A city in north central Indiana has launched a website and began airing a TV commercial this week in an effort to recruit more police officers.

The campaign is Kokomo's latest push to increase police numbers at the city's department, which has nearly 80 police officers, the Kokomo Tribune reported. The city’s 2021 budget allows for 92 officers, including 49 patrol officers.

The commercial airing in Indianapolis and South Bend areas focuses on a 20% pay raise over three years that officers will receive starting in 2021 following the approval of a new union contract with the Fraternal Order of Police Local 78.

“We’re prepared to show you the respect you deserve as you protect the community we love,” Mayor Tyler Moore says in the commercial. “You’re welcome in Kokomo.”

Next year, the starting salary for first-class patrolmen will be $59,444. By 2023, it will increase to $61,846. First-class patrolmen currently earn $51,245.

In 2023, salary will be $67,412 for specialists, $70,504 for sergeants and $72,978 for lieutenants.

City officials did not immediately return the Kokomo Tribune’s request for comment.

The commercial also criticizes cities that have adopted or considered policies to “defund the police," a notion that has been emphasized by activists in the wake of police killings of Black Americans.

City officials have previously told the newspaper they hope the pay raises keep the city competitive with other Indiana cities, especially since a new state rule went into effect last year that allows departments to hire from a 50-mile radius from city limits. Before that, departments could only hire from inside the county or from adjoining counties.

More on