For this month’s recruiter of the month, we spoke with Sergeant Greg Stark about the recruiting process. Sgt. Stark has worked for the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office since 1994. In that time, he has worked in all divisions in the department. In addition to his duties as Administrative Sergeant, he is a responsible for recruiting, Field Training Program, Dive Team Leader, SWAT Team member and Search and Rescue Coordinator.
Sgt. Stark is an experienced officer and recruiter. Keep reading for insight on his law enforcement recruiting experience.
"Recruiting in the modern era requires the integration of technology, marketing and the vast array of social media platforms. Partnering with professionals who specialize in the aforementioned disciplines allows departments to select from a larger pool of qualified applicants." – Sergeant Greg Stark
police marketing interview
What was most challenging in the recruiting process before using Epic Recruiting?
Some of the challenges we faced included reaching local members of the community. For a long time we have been a “train and move on” department; people stay here for two or three years and then move on to another department. This made us focus on trying to hire people from the local communities. So, our challenge was getting people to see our new facility, new jail and new equipment that has brought us up to the modern policing era. The videos we created with Epic Recruiting did just that.
What was your first step in finding a recruiting solution?
We tried to internally use Facebook but we were no experts in the field. We tried to do news releases about upcoming testing sessions and the selection process. Not being experts in those fields, we turned to outside agencies such as [Epic Recruiting]. I know we chose you guys for your track record and online police recruiting videos we’ve seen. I know our administration was very impressed with the work so that was a major factor in going with [Epic].
How were you able to make your department stand out?
Geographically, we’re really eclectic. We have some mountain communities that have breath taking views, as well as on our western side of the county we have smaller, gated communities. Showing the variety of homes from a golf course house, to ranch house to apartment complexes is important. Our county is rural but there are still many unique aspects to Calaveras that we showcased to bring people to the county.
What are other benefits you saw from this campaign?
The feedback from the community was extremely positive. They were very glad to see we were taking non-traditional steps to improve staffing. The support has been very present from the community.
Internally, well you know, it’s always exciting to see your department’s recruiting video. It makes you proud to show your friends and family where you work. We have some officers from New York and they were able to send these videos back home and showcase where they’re at. It definitely helps moral.
Why was it important for Calaveras CSO to make that shift from tradition to digital recruiting efforts?
It’s a new age. I think that’s where things are shifting to, to multi-media platforms. Our department isn’t nearly as proficient in that field, so it makes sense to reach out to those who are experts in digital recruiting. We could have had internal staff do that, but they didn’t have near the expertise that the [Epic] staff does.
Do you face any more challenges as a sheriff's office, rather than a city department?
We’re different than a city department. Calaveras County goes from 200 ft elevation all the way up to 9,800 ft elevation. Everything from our many lakes, to the specialty units that we have (EOD, marine safety, dive team, etc) other departments don’t. So showcasing the multitude of special assignments we have can be difficult in a short time frame. Again, the recruiting video made was able to show all these things. This ideally encourages people to apply here, you know, they might not know we have a bomb team or a K9 program. Leaving any of those out would lead to missing out on a certain populous that we would like to attract.
What was the process like for building this campaign?
I dealt a lot with logistics. We had conference calls and planning sessions that were all well laid out. Our expectations from [Epic] were well laid out. [Epic] gave suggestions on shooting and let us know what they needed from us. We had sent a schedule to you to get the most our of the filming days. You guys were always very flexible. I know one of the days we had inclement weather and you were flexible enough to change the date in order to get the county in its best light.
So, logistically speaking, [Epic] laying out expectations allowed us to prepare and have our resources ready to go in order to meet the needs for the video.
How did building a brand around your department impact applicant quality and quantity?
Previously we would hold a selection process and get maybe 20–30 applicants. On our last go around we had 87 people apply. The amount of applicants has gone through the roof and with that, there’s an increase in quality to choose from.
Our slogans “Your future is wide open” and another one, “Love to live where you work” has come through very well. The recruiting video with our sheriff came out well and communicated our message to the community really well. I was very pleased with the final products.
Anything else you would like to add?
Working with you guys was a real pleasure. It’s nice to work with real professionals in their field. [Epic] is professional and accommodating. They were able to explain what they needed from us in such a way that we were able to make our vision and [Epic’s] vision meet. I see us working with [Epic] again here in the future. When we get different equipment or different opportunities, I wouldn’t hesitate to hire you guys again in a minute.
Police marketing is a challenge for departments of all shapes and sizes across the nation. So, how do you improve police recruiting? The first step is making a move to more digital recruiting practices. Both traditional and digital recruiting are significant in their own ways. The trick is combining them seamlessly to build a brand around your department.
Epic recruiting has over a decade of experience bringing police departments high quality recruiting services. From modern recruiting websites, to captivating video production. Recruit near and far with the Epic Recruiting Process today.
No need to take our word for it. See for yourself with these examples of police recruiting campaigns!
No Endorsement. Epic Recruiting acknowledges that Hayward PD makes no claims on behalf of Epic Recruiting as to the quality of the products or services Epic Recruiting offers. Epic Recruiting shall make no claims that Hayward PD endorses Epic’s products or services.