Answering the call to be the best: Inside HPD’s recruitment campaign

single-meta-cal August 31, 2018

Distinct sirens advancing from the distance. Red and blue flashes illuminating the neighborhood. Huntsville’s finest bring a glimmer of hope – a soothing knowledge that help is on the way – to both citizens and officers in the most frightening of situations.

For the brave men and women serving in Huntsville’s Police Department, answering the call for help is a big part of what motivates them to serve.

Even for a mid-size city like Huntsville, it takes hundreds of officers to meet public safety needs and recruiting new officers is an ongoing effort. To ensure the City attracts the best candidates, the Huntsville Police Department launched an ambitious recruitment effort that includes a new website,videos, social media channels and more.

The recruitment campaign’s motto reflects the department’s vision for an elevated caliber of service, professionalism and protection. 

“A Call to be the Best.”

“It reflects a continuous strive for excellence. It reflects drive. That’s our mission, our vision. We want to be the most qualified and trained department in the country, not just in Alabama,”  Officer Karl Kissich said. “Why would we choose to only be the best here? Let’s be the best—period.”

Kissich, the department’s first full-time recruiter, is charged with leading the recruitment efforts for HPD and being the primary contact for potential Huntsville police officers. Attending job fairs, paying visits to local colleges or staffing information booths at well-trafficked events is all just part of a fraction of a day’s work for Kissich.

The Huntsville Police Department is looking for people of integrity and character to join their police force. Will you answer the Call to Be the Best?

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Officer Kissich, an Arizona native and former Marine Corps officer, joined the Huntsville Police Department in 2007 as a patrol officer. Now, as the lead recruiter for the Huntsville Police Department, Kissich has a big job ahead of him. Increase the number of highly qualified leads to join the police force at a time when national public perception about police officers has taken a hit.

The police challenge

According to a 2016 study, conducted by Pew Research Center, 30 percent of Americans see police as enforcers, rather than protectors. National incidents involving the use of excessive force by law enforcement have created a challenging environment for police recruitment.

Captain DeWayne McCarver, Director of Training for the Huntsville Police Department, is quick to point out that the bad actions of a few officers nationwide do not reflect the culture found within the Huntsville Police Department.

“I think there is a tendency to equate what happens nationally on the local level,” said McCarver. “Even though it couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s the idea that ‘those police officers on the news from a few states away were bad – they did a bad thing – so all police officers must be bad.’ That’s the misperception we’re working to change. We’re not burying our heads in the sand and pretending that perception doesn’t exist, we are acknowledging it head on because we know that’s the only way to bring about positive change.”

“The fact is most of us come into this line of work because we truly want to do the right thing. We want to help. We want to make our communities better, safer,” said McCarver. 

Is it a challenge? Sure. Is Huntsville Police up to that challenge? McCarver and Kissich offer up a confident “yes.” 

Why choose to work in Huntsville?

Kissich says the ideal HPD candidate has great character and a heart for service. 

“We target only the most outstanding and dedicated individuals, whether they be in college, the military, or in another industry entirely,” Kissich said. “Our young officers are doing an awesome job, making us and our citizens very proud. We have a lot of jobs available, and we want to find the best people to serve our city.”   

With frequent economic development advances and a growing entertainment scene, Huntsville is certainly an exciting place to build a career in law enforcement and HPD has a variety of fields within the department to match the interests of any applicant. From working in the K-9 Unit to the SWAT Team, there are many options when it comes to serving and protecting the Rocket City.

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“A career with the Huntsville Police Department means starting with a competitive full-time salary of $40,124. Our officers receive medical, dental, vision insurance benefits and can earn raises each year,” said Kissich.

Other benefits include receiving three days off each week, earning almost three weeks paid vacation each year, and a $400 clothing allowance. Additionally, all HPD officers have numerous chances to earn extra income with part-time and overtime opportunities. 

Extraordinary today, incredible future

With more outstanding police officers, Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray believes Huntsville will continue to thrive. 

“My number one challenge as a police chief is to hire the future police department for the city,” said McMurray. “I focus one-hundred percent of my energy in getting the right applicants hired and trained in order to make the city as safe as possible.” 

McCarver says the Huntsville Police Department has an ambitious goal – to be the best police department in the nation, and they’re looking for officers who share that same desire to excel. 

“In Huntsville, we have so many people who come up to us just to say, ‘thank you.’ It makes a big difference and keeps morale high when you know that our community is proud of their police department. It drives our desire to be the best.” 

The call is out. Will you answer?