It’s no secret that the Denver Sheriff’s Department has huge staffing shortages. To fill positions, the department is attempting to recruit 100 new deputy trainees for a megaclass which begins January 2016.
The department announced it will host a job fair, Saturday, Nov. 14, in an attempt to quickly recruit and train new candidates to fill scores of vacancies.The efforts began back in September as part of a 17-week attempt to reform the department.
Recruits will go through a 16-week training, and upon completion of the program, be assigned to work in Denver jails.
Daelene Mix, the communications director for the Department of Public Safety, told The Colorado Independent that they are trying to hire so many recruits because attrition rates are high. In other words, the department bleeds staff.
Currently, the department loses between two to eight employees per month, said Simon Crittle of the Sheriff Department.
The work is stressful and not for everyone, explained Crittle. “It takes a huge mental toll; it’s long hours and you’re dealing with difficult people, some of whom are violent, suffer from mental illness or who are involved with drugs.”
On top of that, a string of excessive force cases and accusations of corruption, mismanagement and nepotism have tarnished the Sheriff Department’s reputation. To most people, it’s not exactly an ideal place to work. But the pay is good, between $51,180 and $71,318.
“When people hear 100, it can be assumed that we’re just trying to throw new bodies in there, and that’s not the case,” Mix explained.
The hope is that the 100 recruits that will be trained this winter might help turn around the department’s reputation as understaffed and excessively violent. “We think that it will really help turn the department around as far as getting it the resources it needs and getting it back to the basics,” Mix said.
The staff is 50 officers short of “authorized strength,” the maximum number of employees the department can have each year. The authorized strength number is expected to grow based on the city’s 2016 budget, and the department has to figure out how to keep up with new hires.
“It’s a recognition by the administration that not only do we need to get back up to what our authorized strength should be, but we need even more people,” Crittle said. “If you look at the budget, there’s provision for training another hundred after that.”
This seems to mean that hundreds of recruits are soon coming, but Crittle emphasized that it’s hard to find new and qualified people.
Not everyone who applies will be admitted into the academy, and then only about one in ten recruits will make it to the end. But those who land jobs will get to work cleaning up the department’s rap.
Photo credit: Dave Conner, Creative Commons, Flickr.