Signs of the Times

Phoenix Police Recruiting Billboards Go for Soft Sell

Maybe this Phoenix police recruitment billboard does wonders for recruitment... 



... but it sure as heck doesn't inspire confidence in the police force.

Billboards like these have been up around town for months, we learned. A similar one states, "I'm no action hero." We just noticed this one today for the time while driving down Washington Street. It caused a double-take: Did that really say "no gladiator?"

A quick Google search upon returning to the office turned up one reference to the ad -- a critical essay written by Ken Crane, editor of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association newsletter. Crane believes the ad campaign flies in the face of what's really needed in policing: Bad-asses.


Rather than recruit those that exemplify the precious commodity known as the warrior spirit or warrior ethic we instead opt for slick, softer Madison Avenue ads featuring soccer moms in sports bras with catchy slogans that no one seems to get.


He's got a point. When the shit goes down, police -- whether male or female -- simply can't stand there thinking, "I'm no action hero!"

Trouble is, what happens when you take the warrior mentality among police too far?

War crimes.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.