Steven Shaw has worked in law enforcement for 35 years. After spending 32 years with the San Diego Police Department, Shaw came to Desert Hot Springs in 2020 as the Deputy Chief of Police. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the California Police Chiefs Association (CPCA) as the Southern California Associate Member Representative, and Co-Chair of the CPCA Traffic Safety Committee
“Prior to partnering with Epic our staffing was down 22%. We are currently looking at being fully staffed by the end of this year.”
Interview With DHSPD Deputy Chief of Police Steven Shaw
What are some of the challenges you face when it comes to recruiting both sworn and non-sworn personnel?
We have had a number of challenges when it comes to recruiting. One of the challenges is getting people interested in law enforcement and serving their community. We are starting to see a shift from the defund the police movement and continue to work on showcasing what a rewarding and satisfying career in public service can be.
As a smaller department, we also have the challenge of showcasing what our department has to offer compared to a larger agency, and why someone would be a better fit with us than another agency. All agencies are competing for the same applicant pool and we need to be able to highlight what makes our department stand out and a destination department that people want to not only work at, but one where they can make a career. Epic has done just that for us. Highlighting what makes our department unique and special, the potential and growth opportunities one will get here, and why this department is the one to come to and make a career, not just a job. These challenges are the same for both the sworn and non-sworn personnel.
How have you made your department stand out from others in the area?
By showcasing the people here and opportunities available here that you will not get at another department. The people and opportunities have always been here, but we did not have a platform to showcase them. Epic has given us this platform and allowed us to really highlight the opportunities one will get by working for this department, but even more importantly that people are not just a number here. We take an active and ongoing interest in all of our personnel to ensure individuals know they are valued, respected, and an integral part of the overall success of our mission. Although a small agency we provide an avenue for growth for all of our personnel again going back to making a career here, not just a job.
How did you find funding for recruiting efforts?
We are very lucky to have a City Council and community that is very supportive of our police department. Our City Council also recognized the challenges with police recruiting and retention and is committed to public safety. The City Council recognized the need to bring in a professional recruiting agency to help us in our efforts and to attract the best candidates possible. Funding was made available and approved by the City Council to fund our recruitment efforts.
How have you adjusted your recruiting strategy to appeal to a younger generation of officers?
The biggest adjustment has been the use of social media and using social media to reach our target audience. We also highlight not just the financial side of the job but the fact that you are not just a number when you join our team. We recognize the importance of a work-life balance, growth, opportunities, and recognition. These are key components of how we are now recruiting.
What was your first step towards modernizing your recruiting efforts?
Looking at our recruiting efforts we knew we needed to utilize the social media platform, but we also knew we needed to do it strategically in a way that would actually reach our target audience and not just get lost in the social media cloud. Knowing this we started looking at companies with this specific knowledge and track records. Epic quickly came to the top of our list in helping us do this and we are thrilled to have partnered with Epic which has brought us in the modernized age of recruiting.
What benefits have you seen since creating your recruitment campaign?
The biggest benefit has been getting our name out there and potential applicants actually taking the time to look at our department and what we have to offer. We have seen our recruiting efforts expand outside of our county and state, and are receiving interest in applicants looking at relocating. These are areas that we were unable to reach before partnering with Epic. Prior to partnering with Epic our staffing was down 22%. We are currently looking at being fully staffed by the end of this year.
What has been the biggest change in your recruitment process since working with Epic?
I think the biggest change has been our ability to reach a much larger audience and really highlight what makes our department unique. Before Epic we did not have the platform to showcase our department and it was very easy to get lost in the clutter of “any other department” trying to recruit. With Epic we have been given the platform to highlight our department and stand out among other departments.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A POLICE RECRUITING AGENCY, AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE EPIC?
We looked for a recruiting agency with a proven track record with their recruiting campaigns and one that would make our recruitment campaign stand out among other recruitment campaigns. We also were looking for an agency where we felt there was a personal relationship between us and them. This was going to be more than just a business deal. We were looking for someone to develop a personal relationship with who would truly listen to our needs and goals. We truly found this with Epic. Epic has included us in every step of this process, and we are partners in this campaign. This also is not just a business deal with Epic. We have been with Epic every step of this process and developed true friendships with the Epic team that will continue for years to come.