Question: How will you set the county apart from other surrounding agencies to allow you to attract and hire the best possible candidates to become deputies?
This is a good question, and an issue that is always on my mind. I recently attended a Westside Economic Alliance question and answer forum and spoke to them about recruiting and retention. The complexities and importance of hiring the best candidates are well understood by both the public and private sectors.
The first and most important discriminating factor for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office is its reputation as an agency of integrity with strong community support and partnerships. The way our professionals work daily to reflect the S.O. core values of “Do your best; Do the right thing; and Treat others the way you want to be treated” is the best recruiting tool we can have. This professional integrity helps us develop community relationships that greatly enrich our work.
Other internal areas in which WCSO sets itself apart are its availability of special team assignments we can offer, as well as its top-tier training facility.
While every deputy is skilled across a wide spectrum of skills and abilities, special teams opportunities enhance recruiting because of the opportunity for new deputies to eventually focus their craft in particular areas of interest, like becoming a member of teams to include the canine team, crash/accident reconstruction team, crisis negotiations team, jail/corrections emergency response team, tactical team (SWAT), security threat group (jail gangs), narcotics task force, major crimes team, domestic violence response team, traffic enforcement team and more. Most of these teams are interagency; team member work closely with professionals from partner agencies which enhances overall learning and professional growth.
In addition to special team assignments, our state-of-the-art training facility boosts our ability to recruit the best applicants. The excellence of our Public Safety Training Center conveys our commitment to professionalism and safety and is only available in Washington County. Prospective deputy candidates have told us that they haven’t seen a comparable training venue at other agencies or such a commitment to excellence in public safety training.
And finally, I have the utmost confidence in the quality of our Sheriff’s Office recruiting team. A mix of full-time professionals and those on a collateral (additional duty) basis, they are intelligent, motivated, innovative, a mix of uniform and non-uniform staff, and diverse. A sergeant from the Jail is in charge of this important program. His jail expertise provides applicants an excellent understanding for the engaging, team-oriented, challenging work of a jail professional. Our only full-time recruiter from patrol is a deputy who started in the jail. She took a special team position on the honor guard, then transferred to patrol, and now recruiting. Another recruiter (part-time) immigrated from Mexico when he was young, and his compelling story helps us engage in a meaningful way with Hispanic/Latino community members
and other communities of color candidates.
Our recruiting team is pursuing qualified candidates from around the region, working with those transitioning off active military duty, as well as establishing relationships with colleges’ and universities’ criminal justice programs up and down the west coast. Our recruiting team is eager to innovate with the latest cost-effective technologies that they can apply to recruiting. In spite of the state and national low unemployment rates, we recruited more deputies in 2019 than in 2018, which was more than in 2017. We continue to innovate and make headway, and I look forward to seeing their results into the future!
I am fully aware of the recruiting and hiring challenges in our current competitive job market, and the critical importance to increase our ranks. That’s why we are laser-focused on recruiting and devoting our best to this effort so that we can recruit the best. If you are interested to do the most important engaging, work for your community and be part of an effective team (or know someone who is interested), start here today!