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Rhetorical Situation and Persuasive Analysis:

Join the EPPD Recruitment Video
In order to prepare myself to enter my desired discourse community, which
is the El Paso Police Department (EPPD) as a police officer, I had to analyze how the
departments mechanisms of communication are used between its members in
order to work as a functioning organization. However, theres much more to
realizing how the EPPD works. For an organization to flourish and preserve its
community in upcoming years, they must recruit new members in order to uphold
the organization after expert members eventually leave the group. So how does
the EPPD recruit its members effectively and persuasively? The EPPD has different
means of persuasionranging from blunt brochures to theatrical video
commercials. For this assignment, I will be providing a rhetorical situation, as Keith
Grant-Davie (1997) explained in Rhetorical Situations and Their Constituents, and
a rhetorical analysis of an online video regarding joining the EPPD and how this
medium uses Aristotles (350 B.C.E) rhetoric tacticsEthos (authors use of
credibility), Pathos (triggering audiences emotions), and Logos (using logic and
reasoning)in order to appear persuasive to the viewer.
But first, what is a rhetorical situation? According to Keith Grant-Davie
(1997), a rhetorical situation is a set of related factors whose interaction creates
and controls a discourse (Grant-Davie, 1997, p. 265); however, in order to
understand the situation, you must examine the constituents of the situation
(Grant-Davie, 1997, p.265) in which there are fourexigence, rhetor(s), audience,
and constraints. Grant-Davie explained that exigence is the motivation of the
discourse, rhetor(s) are the people, real or imagined, responsible for the discourse
and its authorial voice, audience is those people who the rhetor(s) negotiate
through discourse to achieve the rhetorical objectives, and finally constraints are
the factors in the situations context that may affect the achievement of the
rhetorical objectives (Grant-Davie, 1997, p. 266-272). So what is the EPPDs
rhetorical situation based off of using these four factors, and how does the situation
relate to the EPPDs attempt at persuading its video viewer into joining the field?
After watching the EPPDs recruitment video, I asked three simple questions
to determine its exigence: what is the video about, why was this video needed, and
what is this video trying to accomplish? The video was mainly about depicting what
the EPPD does in law enforcement, and shows the type of training you do in order to
become a law enforcement officer. After I asked myself why this video was needed, I
realized that it was needed in order to accomplish its goalto persuade its viewers
into joining El Pasos finest (City of El Paso, 2014) and become a law enforcement
officer. In this video, the rhetors were an El Paso police officer (he was not
introduced or identified) and the entire EPPD (an imaginary rhetor). The police
officer plays the role of an employee, while the EPPD plays the role of the employer.
The audience is any viewer, in general, that is interested in law enforcement, but
more specifically in the EPPD. By the roles the rhetors are playing, they are
exchanging information about the law enforcement field to its audience. And finally,
this video has two constraints: previous history about the police force engulfed in
corruption, and the fact that this is a dangerous field, which is where many officers
have died on duty, creating fear and giving the audience uncertainty about joining.
Now that I have conjoined Grant-Davies (1997) four factors of rhetorical
situation to set up the rhetorical situation for the EPPDs recruitment video, I will
now analyze how the author of this video used Aristotles (350 B.C.E) rhetoric
tacticsEthos, Pathos, and Logos. Remember, Ethos is the authors use of credibility
in order to give his/her artifact reliability, Pathos is the authors choice of text,
language, etc. in order to evoke certain emotions to their audience, and Logos is the
authors use of logic and reasoning in order to explain their argument and classify it
as valid.
Throughout most of the video, the author relies heavily on pathos in order to
persuade the viewer into becoming interested in joining the EPPD. In the entire
video, there is dramatic music playing in the background, meaning that the creator
of this video wanted its viewers to feel thrilled, as if they [viewers] were in an action
movie. By including such theatrical music, the author wanted each viewer to feel
powerful and heroic. Because the author wants to invoke these feelings, he/she is
conveying the message that you can be the powerful hero if youre in law
enforcement. In a couple of small video clips, there were gun appearances such as
snipers and machine guns. The author is trying to show that in this field, you will get
hands on action and adrenaline rush by coming in contact with danger, but you
will also provide protection and security, all three symbols that are illustrated by
By doing so, the author is effectively appealing to one audience groupthose
who are interested in helping people with a tinge of action and adrenaline. However,
this video not only is trying to persuade one audience group, it is attempting to
persuade a wider audience range. The author includes a couple small fragments of
clips depicting the different career branches in law enforcement, such as forensic
analysts examining fingerprints or even the SWAT team breaching a building. The
author chose to include these clips in order to attract the audience that doesnt
necessarily want to be a police officer, but can join the EPPD as any law enforcement
After watching this video, it is difficult to notice or realize, but the credible
author in order to establish Ethos is the EPPDthe rhetor. After analyzing the
video, I found three applications of Ethos. A way for the audience to trust the
video, it is likely that the audience will believe a credible website. In this case, the
website where this video is posted on is elpasotexas.gov, and this is very credible
due to the .gov domain addressmeaning that this website is government
administered. The video is posted on the EPPD website and located under the tab
saying Join the EPPD link. The author chose to have this commercial posted on this
government administered website rather than have it shown either on YouTube or
TV because of the fact since the webpage is government affiliated, it adds more
authority and is more trustworthy than any other .com webpages.
The second and third applications of Ethos are in the video itself. The second
form is presented throughout the entire video; there are appearances of actual
police officers and police officer trainees, and one clip that show many graduation
certificates with an official police badge. These appearances and clip all collaborate
and represent the EPPD as a whole, and this collaboration therefore gives the video
a sense of trustworthiness to the department. The third form of Ethos is the
interview with the police officer because of the fact that he is a licensed police
officer, meaning that hes been working on the field for some time and isnt a recent
police academy graduate. Any viewer would be intrigued by this because a licensed
police officer, which adds credibility, is telling the audience that the most logical
reason to join the EPPD is to help people (also a minor appeal to Pathos as well),
therefore persuading viewers to become a part of the EPPD and join the community.
Though the interview with the police officer is working as Ethos in this video, it also
plays a role as Logos.
In order for a claim to be considered to be Logos, the claim must follow the
syllogism structureif statement A=statement B, and if statement C=statement A,
then statement C=statement Balong with the syllogism to be logical and true. The
police officer works as Logos because he states the simplest yet logical reason to
join the police forceto help people. This statement makes a valid syllogism in the
form of helping people (A)=EPPD (B), You (C)=want to help people (A), therefore
you (C)=EPPD (B). During his interview, he also added onto saying that he applied
[police academy], made it through, and is ready to start. When he said this, he
dictated it at a fast pace. The reason he said these words in a quick speed was to
make people think that the process to join the department is quick, hindering
viewers to think, Joining the department will be quick and easy, just like that.
As part of an appeal to Logos, the author uses the police officer once more.
Along the police officers interview, he shares a personal life experience and
mentions he is 46 years old. This statement leads the audience to think wellif he
did it at 46 years old, then I can definitely do it too. By using the tactic of
mentioning his age, the author just added another audience groupwhich would
most likely range from ages 30-50who are still potentially eligible to join the
Throughout the two minutes of video, the author effectively uses Aristotles
rhetorical means of persuasion in order to appeal to the viewing audience. As a
consequence, those who viewed this video will become connected to the
interviewed police officer by the means of motivation, thrilled by the adrenaline
rush given by the gun scenes and melodramatic background music, and by the most
logical reason to join the EPPDto help people. In conclusion, the author or creator
of the video successfully portrayed Ethos, Pathos, and Logos in order to reach
different audiences and persuade potential law enforcement recruits; therefore, the
author/creator of this video fulfilled the EPPD rhetorical situation.

Aristotle. (350 B.C.E). Rhetoric. The Internet Classics Archive. Retrieved from
City of El Paso. (2014). Join the EPPD. El Paso Police Department. Retrieved from
Grant-Davie, K. (1997). Rhetorical situations and their constituents. Rhetoric Review.
264-279. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/465644