Modernizing Police Recruitment

Interview With Union City Police Department Personnel Training Supervisor Ian Hobson

In a recent interview with Ian Hobson, the Personnel Training Supervisor at the Union City Police Department, we dove into the challenges, successes, and modernization efforts the department has experienced in recruiting both sworn and non-sworn personnel. From the journey of a former Police Cadet to the impact of a successful recruitment campaign, we’ll explore the intricacies of law enforcement hiring in a dynamic and evolving landscape.

Meet the Personnel Training Supervisor

The interview began with an introduction to the interviewee, Ian Hobson, the Personnel Training Supervisor at the Union City Police Department. With over ten years of experience within the department, Hobson highlighted the diverse roles undertaken, including parking enforcement, animal control, and transitioning into the personnel training unit. His passion for connecting with people and fostering professional growth led to his current role overseeing personnel hiring decisions and coordinating training programs.

"I started here about ten years ago, just one of our Police Cadets. Then, when I transitioned into our personnel training unit, I found that it was something I enjoyed."

"Some of the public don't have the best opinions about law enforcement... It's not like we have a limitless supply of money. trying to manage that [expectations], while being a small agency - we don't have unlimited funds."

Challenges in Recruitment

Addressing the challenges faced in recruiting both sworn and non-sworn personnel, Hobson acknowledged the public perception of law enforcement. Despite the department’s supportive community, recruiting from a pool of 78,000 residents means the department is often looking beyond city limits. Budget constraints and salary expectations also pose challenges, emphasizing the need for strategic recruitment approaches.

Unique Culture Sets Union City Police Department Apart

Hobson highlighted what makes the department stand out and attributed it to the vibrant department culture. Unlike many other agencies, the Union City Police Department fosters an atmosphere of camaraderie and genuine connection. Regular events, from barbecues to holiday parties, contribute to a positive work environment where officers engage beyond work hours.

"We have a summer barbecue for our employees, a winter holiday party for employees, and a winter kids Christmas party... there are genuine connections here."

Modernizing Recruitment Efforts

Hobson shared insights into the department’s steps toward modernizing recruitment efforts. Moving beyond traditional job fairs, the department collaborated with Epic Recruiting to create engaging content that showcases the department’s values, stories, and perspectives. Leveraging videos and an online presence facilitated reaching a targeted audience and communicating effectively with the department.

"For the longest time, it relied on just... going to a job fair.

working with EPIC allowed us to advertise the stuff you can't put on a flier - people's stories, their opinions about things, just who they are."

Benefits of Collaborating with EPIC

Since partnering with EPIC, the Union City Police Department has witnessed a significant increase in applications. The professional and polished content produced by EPIC not only enhanced recruitment efforts but also raised the overall standard and professionalism of the department. The benefits extended beyond recruitment campaigns, as the content created by EPIC found benefits in various documents and reports.

"We've been able to use that material, not just for recruiting purposes, but other kinds of documents, flyers, reports; it brought up the level of the department."

Financial Considerations and Recruitment Funding

Addressing funding concerns, Hobson disclosed that the department reallocated money from vacant positions to fund recruitment efforts during high vacancies. This strategic approach allowed them to invest in recruiting campaigns and effectively manage financial resources.

Positive Changes in Recruitment Outcomes

EPIC’s collaboration brought tangible changes in recruitment outcomes. Prospective candidates frequently mentioned exploring the department’s website and watching recruitment videos. The content served as a bridge, allowing candidates to research and understand the department’s culture, increasing the overall professionalism and appeal.

"I hear recruits say, 'I went to your website and saw the videos, or I found information in one of the tabs. I understood what the process was'... It's like an opener, but it kind of bridges that gap."

Selecting the Right Recruiting Agency

Hobson emphasized the importance of choosing a recruiting agency that understands law enforcement. The decision to collaborate with EPIC was influenced by recommendations from neighboring agencies and EPIC’s proven track record in the field. A professional agency with expertise in production provided the department with the necessary tools to enhance its recruitment efforts.

"Looking for just a production organization with people who know and understand law enforcement and the production side of things."

Success Metrics and Future Prospects

EPIC’s collaboration significantly reduced the number of vacant positions, with the department now only a few positions away from being fully staffed. The success extends to the potential for hiring before retirement, thanks to a supportive city council allowing the department to plan strategically. The positive outcomes underscore the effectiveness of combining EPIC’s professional content with the unique culture of the Union City Police Department.

“We finally saw a spike in applications. So that was huge. overall, we've seen an increase in professionalism and the look of things.”

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