If you ever get the chance to meet Corporal Lance Hobbs of the Frisco Police Department in person, you might notice his exceedingly strong handshake. You might also note that the moment his steel-like, solid hand grips yours, you have actually made a friend for life. Underneath the muscle and grit of a 20-year veteran police officer, the imposing 5-foot, 10-inch, 220-pound frame with an extra 30 pounds of police gear and the Kevlar vest that makes him seem like a superhero, there is a humble and kind soul. Corporal Hobbs is quite modest and you get the feeling he would rather be patrolling the streets of Frisco, keeping its residents safe, helping his fellow officers or spending time with his family rather than talking about himself.
Corporal Hobbs has been protecting Frisco and its citizens for more years than most of us have lived here. He recently achieved a career milestone with the Frisco Police Department: 20 years of service. It makes him one of the longest-standing patrol officers in the department. While there may be a few officers who have been with the department longer, they have moved into different divisions. For Corporal Hobbs, being a patrol officer has been a constant. At a recent City Council meeting, he was recognized for reaching his milestone and Mayor Maher Maso declared February 7, 2017, as “Lance Hobbs Day.”
His police patrol area includes the area from State Highway 121 north to Main Street and Preston Road east to Custer Road, but patrol officers can be sent to calls outside their designated areas if needed. Corporal Hobbs has risen to that occasion many times. While his patrol work is vital to the department, it is only part of what makes him valuable to Frisco. He has been a member of the Special Operations Unit (SOU) since late 1997 and in charge of the sniper team. He helps train officers in entry tactics and precision marksmanship.
“I have never worked in any other division. I have always worked in patrol,” says Corporal Hobbs. “We teach our own, so I have been part of a lot of other stuff, like the field training program for new officers coming in, firearms instructor, defensive tactics unit, sniper instructor and active threat training, but for more than 10 years I have been patrolling the same district.”
Corporal Hobbs was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and police work runs in his blood. His mother was also a police officer for 25 years with the Houston Police Department and his father was the chief toxicologist for Harris County. Corporal Hobbs spent four years (1990-1994) in the Marine Corps. He was stationed on an island, Diego Garcia, for a year as ground defense force and then transferred and completed his tour in Calif. at Camp Pendleton. There, he was assigned to an intel company and did early warning of troop movement using ground sensors.
He came to Frisco in 1997, joined the Frisco Police Department and has not left. He says he got to town way before so many people moved here, back when there were just 29 officers. Now, there are more than 180. “When I got here, 20 years ago, from Houston, I was excited. The transition was a little rough. Going from a department with 6,000 officers to one with 29 can be a shock. At first, I kept waiting for Andy and Barney to come walking in, but that did not last long. We were still police officers, still responded to the same kind of calls and traffic stops for the same offenses, but the biggest difference, in my opinion, was the camaraderie with the rest of the department. Everybody pretty much knew everybody and their families and the large amount of support from the community,” he says. Corporal Hobbs says the department has changed tremendously over the last 20 years, from the vehicles patrol officers drive to the building they work in. “We had rotary light bars (at the time, strobe lights were high-end) on the patrol cars (Ford Crown Victorias and Chevy Caprice classics). We were just starting to get actual computers in the cars and patrolled with the center divider (partition between the front and back seat) down, unless you had a prisoner who was combative or liked to spit on you. The work days on patrol were eight-hour shifts back then, and the city was covered by four patrol officers and one sergeant, with the occasional fun day when you walked into briefing and your sergeant was sitting there alone. You asked where everybody was and he would respond that the two of you were everybody that day. The sergeant covered calls on one side of the city (east or west side) and you covered the other half,” says Corporal Hobbs. “Oh, those were the days.”
“Our police station was the back half of what is now the Boys and Girls Clubs of Collin County on McKinney Road. The front was the library and the YMCA when I started, and the city court took over the area of the YMCA later. Our jail was a big steel box, separated inside by bars (girls and boys had separate sides). The building had been built around it to better secure the area,” he says.
Corporal Hobbs says what keeps him in Frisco is the community and the people he works with. “I get along with everybody here,” he says. His colleague, Sergeant Jeffrey Inmon, says Corporal Hobbs is an all-around great guy. “He was a corporal when I first got here, almost 12 years ago. He is one of the constants in the department. He is very dependable and he is always there.”
Sergeant Richard Driver has known Corporal Hobbs for more than 17 years. “Corporal Hobbs is a great leader in patrol and SOU. He leads numerous training events for the police department, including firearms training, active threat training and defensive tactics training. He is well-liked by everyone in the department and is looked up to and respected by all. It has been a pleasure to work with Corporal Hobbs throughout the years.”
Corporal Hobbs says one of the best aspects of being on patrol is the people he meets. Even when he is not on patrol, he is recognized and always stopped to talk with residents. “I drive around and wave and everyone waves back. We get a lot of support here at the Frisco Police Department,” he says. “I love to stop and talk to people. In the wintertime, I take hot chocolate to all the crossing guards.”
When he is not on patrol, Corporal Hobbs keeps busy tinkering in his garage or hunting, his hobbies outside of the police department.
Along with protecting Frisco, Corporal Hobbs has been raising his three daughters, Sara, 27, Lauren, 24 and Cana, 6. Last June, he married his next-door neighbor, Tara. They shared a fence as neighbors for more than 12 years before they married. “Lance has a servant’s heart. His passion for compassion humbles me. He teaches me to be better just by being himself. I am proud of him. I love him deeply and I am honored to be his wife,” she says.
As for the future, Corporal Hobbs shares, “I will probably continue on patrol. I would like to put in at least 10 more years.” Without a doubt, Corporal Hobbs will always be a friend to Frisco. The next time you see him, do not forget to give a neighborly wave!