HAMPTON – After 23 years in the green uniform of the Hampton Police Department, including two as chief, David Hobbs is retiring and entering a new phase in his career as a law enforcement officer.
“I’m going to be chief of police and director of safety at Northern Essex Community College (in Haverhill, Massachusetts),” Hobbs said. “I see it as a unique opportunity.”
Hobbs, 45, has spent more than two decades serving the people of Hampton, where he has spent his entire career as a law enforcement officer.
“As a kid, I felt like police work was where I leaned in; through high school and college,” Hobbs said. “I wanted to do something challenging, something different every day. A career where you can make a difference.”
The son of the late Patricia and David Hobbs of Kingston, Massachusetts, Hobbs graduated from Silver Lake Regional High School in his hometown and received his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Bay State’s Framingham State College in 1999.
It was during a senior year internship at the New England Institute of Law Enforcement Management at Babson College that Hobbs met a police officer who was taking courses at the institute, a man who would define Hobbs’ career: Jamie Sullivan.
“I was a captain (of the Hampton police force) at the time,” said Sullivan, who is now Hampton City Manager and the city’s retired police chief. “One of the instructors came up to me and said, ‘Hey, I have this great young man who wants to take the police exam for Hampton.’ It was just one of those chance meetings.”
More:Man charged with drunk driving after crashing into Greg’s Bistro in Hampton, injuring 4
Hobbs took the exam, passed, and joined Hampton as a part-time officer in 1999 before moving full-time in 2000. From then on, according to Sullivan, Hobbs held almost every position in the department.
Hobbs served as a patrolman, school resource officer, training officer, use of force instructor, sergeant, member of the Seacoast Emergency Response Team, and rose to deputy chief in 2014 and chief two years ago. Hobbs also earned his master’s degree from Southern New Hampshire University in law and public administration while working full-time.
“Dave is such a high quality person,” Sullivan said. “He brought his personality and his skills to his job. It was my great pleasure to follow his career as he rose to the helm. Dave was the guy you counted on to get things right. He was the guy who made it and never looked for awards.”
Sullivan’s comments are echoed by Hobbs’ deputy, Deputy Chief Alex Reno.
“Dave never wanted anything for himself,” Reno said. “He had no problem driving the Klunker as boss. He wanted to take care of other people. He’s just an overall good person and we’ll miss him. He is a cop and a selfless leader.”
According to Reno, Hobbs’ absence will be deeply felt.
“We wish him and his family the very best when he retires from here,” Reno said. “He has such a wonderful family. I’m glad he will have the opportunity to spend more time with his wife and children.”
‘Still… In Shock’Newlywed bride recovers after husband killed in Seabrook crash
A new career in retirement
At just 45, Hobbs is young to be retiring, but he believes his youth gives him a chance to build a successful second career in his new role. In addition, the new position should be less time-consuming, allowing Hobbs to spend more time with his young family.
“My family has made many sacrifices over the years,” he said. “It wasn’t an easy decision because I’ve been here for so long and I’m part of a wonderful team here, but I’m trying to do what’s best for my family.”
Hobbs said he will continue to live in Hampton with his wife Erin and their three children Olivia, 13, Stevie, 11, and Cooper, 6.
Although Hobbs did manage to coach his children’s hockey team, there were few, if any, leisurely summer weekends with the kids or summer vacations spent on vacation. But that is already beginning to change.
Businesses in Hampton NH:Cinnamon Rainbows owner ’embraces life’ after near-death Burned shop also has a new home.
“We’ve booked a holiday for July 4th next year,” he said, laughing.
Hobbs said what he will miss most about his job is the people, the community, his command staff and every single officer.
“All in all, being part of this team is my fondest memory,” said Hobbs. “I want to thank the city for letting me be a part of this community and giving me the opportunities I’ve had here.”