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Township department shows considerable growth

By Dana Casadei

At the beginning of her annual report presentation to the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees on Monday, July 24, Carrie LeZotte, director of Cable and Community Relations, said she had been searching her entire career to find the type of community she’s found in Bloomfield Township. 

And while she’s only been leading the team for a year, what a year it has been for her and the department. 

In the last year the Cable and Community Relations Department created new positions – including a grant writer – and gave pay raises to keep them more competitive in the market, giving an increase to those making $13 per hour to $20. They’ve updated to make better use of their studio space, including a new podcast and multi-media studio, and a new green room.

“What you guys have done as a team is so impressive,” said trustee Valerie Murray. “You really just turned things around.”

The biggest area of growth for the department has been in their digital engagement and social media.

For starters, the Bloomfield Township’s YouTube page got almost 74,000 views during the last fiscal year, and there was significant growth in both the number of posts and followers on everything from the township’s Instagram to Facebook pages for the police and fire departments. Weekly e-news and senior e-news all grew considerably as well, the employee newsletter came back, and a police recruitment newsletter was started. 

There’s also a Bloomfield Township app in the works. 

Print materials and in-person community engagement were just as vital to the department’s growth, with a quarterly newsletter going out to over 17,000 households, and the department manning food trucks throughout the summer as part of their community engagement.

“There’s a lot of opportunities for us to grow in many areas,” LeZotte said. 

A lot of their digital growth began when they started creating more content for the Bloomfield Township Police Department, one of their most successful campaigns this year, and whose Facebook page gained almost 1,700 new followers. 

The goal of the campaign was to recruit 11 new officers, with five officers being hired so far. Materials created range from a podcast with the chief of police every two weeks – which LeZotte said has been getting excellent feedback – to putting out more press releases, and even winning a national award for a video they put together on the police department. 

They have worked with not only different departments across the township, but have been making sure to tell the stories of local residents as well, one of LeZotte’s favorite parts of the job. 

“Now more than ever we need to tell our own stories,” she said. “It’s really up to us.”

LeZotte hasn’t done this work alone though, and took the time to individually recognize everyone on her team, many who were there to support her during her presentation, and many who have stayed with the department for years. 

Trustee Michael Schostak commented that this was the first time he had seen so many members of cable and community relations team at a board of trustees meeting, which really speaks to LeZotte building a team environment.

In total, the department manages nearly 600 productions between public programs and government meetings, including 94 government meetings for Bloomfield Township.

LeZotte also shows no signs of slowing down as they move forward into the next year. While discussing her goals for the future of the department, she included offering education and workshops; allowing the community to use their green room; and most importantly, continuing to tell the stories of township residents.


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