History in the Making

Jim and Erica Hoffman become the NJSPBA’s first father and daughter
to serve together as State Delegates

Hopewell Local 342 State Delegate Jim Hoffman embraces and congratulates his daughter, Atlantic Highlands Local 242 State Delegate Erica Hoffman, at her pinning ceremony in 2018.

Erica Hoffman walked past the hundreds of NYPD recruits preparing to be sworn in. Joined by her father, Hopewell Local 342 State Delegate Jim Hoffman, Erica stood in front of the American flag for this moment. Then her father proudly pinned her badge to her uniform. It was engraved with the number she had requested when she first joined the academy: badge number 40, the same as Jim.

“It was very touching, to be honest with you,” Jim shared. “Knowing that she does want to follow in my footsteps, I couldn’t have been prouder.”

Inspired by her father’s service in law enforcement, Erica has indeed followed in her father’s footsteps. And after transferring to the Atlantic Highlands PD two years ago, she was recently elected as the Local 242 State Delegate. Jim and Erica are believed to be the first father daughter duo to serve together as State Delegates in the history of the PBA.

“It feels like a lot of pressure,” Erica admitted. “But it’s also very humbling, because I’m not afraid to ask for help. I’m not afraid to do the job, either, or kind of put myself out there.”

Growing up in Jersey City, Erica remembers seeing her father walking down the street in uniform. She would also hear him receive compliments for his service and saw the endless ways he helped others in the community.

And when she witnessed him travel to New York City in the wake of 9/11 to aid first responders, a spark ignited in her. She wanted to help others the way he did.

In college, she thought she wanted to follow the federal route and become an FBI agent. But while she was completing a master’s degree in criminology, a professor’s advice helped change her course.

“He said, ‘If you want to solve the problem, work for a federal agency,’” Erica related. “‘If you want to fix the problem, there’s plenty of opportunity within the state level that you’d be able to do.’ Hearing that, talking to my dad and seeing how involved you could be with the community, I was like, ‘All right, this is maybe more of what I want to do. I want to be more hands-on.’”

When Erica first came on the job, Jim relayed an important piece of advice to her that he has carried with him throughout his 27 years on the job: Always ask questions.

“He’s not someone that’s going to steer me wrong,” remarked Erica, who admits her father is always the first one she calls. “If there’s something he thinks I shouldn’t be doing, he’s going to tell me. Or, if it’s something that’s not a big deal, he’ll tell me, ‘Just let it go. It is what it is.’”

Erica became another addition to the NJSPBA from the Hoffman family. Jim’s daughter Nancy is on the job with the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office and is a member of Local 314.

“I’m proud of them,” Jim related. “I’m sure they’re going to do a very excellent job in whatever they choose to do. I wish them all the best, and I’m sure they will accomplish their goals.

From left, Hopewell Local 342 State Delegate Jim Hoffman stands with his daughters, Atlantic Highlands Local 242 State Delegate Erica Hoffman and Monmouth County Sheriff’s Officers Local 314 member Nancy Hoffman.

Jim began his law enforcement career with the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office in 1997 before transferring to Hopewell in 2001. He has served as Local 342 State Delegate for 10 years. He views it as one of the most important jobs in the union, as members rely on him to communicate information from the state.

When Erica told him that she was considering running for State Delegate, that was the first thing he told her.

“Erica is a very strong-minded person,” Jim described. “When she gets her mind set to something, she’s accomplishing it. So, I told her if you’re going to do it, you just can’t do it a quarter way, you have to be fully committed.”

When Jim learned that they had been a part of this historic moment, he described feeling shocked. But he was also eager to be around for his daughter to help in any way needed.

“I’m kind of honored, to be honest with you, that I have the opportunity to be a delegate with my daughter while she’s still there,” Jim added. “The PBA delegates are a tough group. They stick together.”