RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia State Police are taking their search for new recruits to the movies.
A 30-second promotional video is set to begin playing Friday at movie theatres in Virginia and four other states: New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
State police are actively hiring for the 131st basic session scheduled to begin early next year. The agency currently has about 200 vacancies, 10 per cent of its sworn force of about 2,000.
State police and other law enforcement agencies have been struggling to attract enough recruits over the past few years, Spokeswoman Corinne Geller said. State police have tried various recruitment techniques, including using social media.
"The challenge is to get more creative in our recruitment," Geller said. "With this video showing at movie theatres, we can reach a whole broad spectrum of people."
The recruitment efforts have seen some results over the past year. The department welcomed 80 new troopers last month after their graduation from the training academy. The academy is now preparing for another 79 new recruits to arrive next week to begin their training.
The promotional video shows Virginia state troopers performing in the field, including chasing a car with sirens blaring, running with a police dog and marching in formation. The words "meaningful," ''rewarding," ''valour," ''service" and "pride" appear on the screen.
A group of troopers are shown at the end, saying, "We are Virginia State Police."
The video will be shown at theatres through Aug. 1.