Billboard advertising police jobs pops up in Atlanta, just happens to be for another department

ATLANTA — It’s something that quickly caught the eye of Atlanta police officers.

It’s a giant billboard in downtown Atlanta, put up this week by former APD chief Erika Shields, asking officers to come join her at her new department in Louisville, Kentucky.

“Chief Shields is doing exactly what every other major police department should be doing right now and that is recruiting nationwide,” said Kevin Knapp, a lieutenant at APD and the local police union president.

He told us Shields’ billboard has been the talk of APD this week. He also told us Shields’ plan might work.

“She has a lot of officers that she knows very well here, and she may be able to attract a few of them, especially with the benefits that she’s showing,” said Knapp.

While Louisville police are offering new officers up to $11,000 in total bonuses, Knapp says APD offers new officers only $2,000 in total bonuses.

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We reached out to APD. They told us in a statement:

“Hiring among law enforcement agencies has become competitive. Many departments are well aware that the Atlanta Police Department is a first-class agency that provides top tier training which allows us to have some of the best officers in the nation.”

Louisville’s recruitment efforts go beyond the billboard. In a tweet they announced that Louisville officers will come to Atlanta next week for a recruitment event – conducting interviews on-site.

Louisville police told us Chief Shields was not available for comment on our story.

While Shields tries to take some Atlanta officers, Knapp hopes APD will try to take some of her ideas.

“All these other major cities are coming up with their ideas about how to recruit and how to retain. We’ve got to do that and we’ve got to be one of the ones in the forefront,” said Knapp.

This comes at a bad time for APD, with the department still down more than 400 officers.

APD is holding its own recruitment event this Saturday at Lenox Square from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.