SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Behind the badge, the fight is real in terms of recruitment.
This is an industry-wide trend that law enforcement agencies are grappling with.
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âIt’s harder to recruit,â said Rod Grassman of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office.
It’s reality. At one point, a few months ago, the department had lost 100 positions – nearly 10% of sworn-in deputies. This is double the vacancies they usually have.
âWe’ve definitely had a lot of retirements,â Grassman said.
The protests and civil unrest of 2020 did not help.
“Certainly when people get an anti-police message, it’s going to have an effect on people’s interest in wanting to do this job,” he said.
The pandemic has also posed a problem.
“Where we normally have these large cohorts of people where we meet them and walk them through the process, we haven’t been able to do that in COVID – and it’s a lot harder to do that on Zoom.” Grassman said.
Lt. Matt Owens, who oversees the academy, says it’s also a long process.
âPeople come in and learn everything from driving a car fast and correcting a turn, shooting guns, toâ¦ learning criminal law, constitutional law,â Owens said.
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From the time they apply to the time they arrive at the academy, it can take 15 months. And people are carefully vetted.
âWhether it’s filling out an application or taking a personal history, it can include 80 pages of everything you’ve ever done wrong in our lives,â Grassman said.
Statistics from the Sheriff’s Office show less than a third graduate – and now there’s a new problem: competition between agencies.
âI’ve heard that some departments even offer their academy recruits cash bonuses for recruiting someone else from the academy into their agency. So it’s pretty aggressive there right now, âDavis Police Department Deputy Deputy Chief Paul Doroshov said.
The Davis Police Department has a very lucrative compensation package, and yet they also have open positions.
âWe’re one of the best in the region, but it’s still a struggle these days,â Doroshov said.
The latest promotion reduced the number of vacant positions in the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office to 80. They hope to fill 36 more positions with the academy graduating this month, which will bring the number of vacancies in line with what is typical for their department.
But more retirements means more recruiting.
âI think as we get this message out we can talk to these people about their desire to help the community. We can generate enthusiasm to enter this profession, âsaid Grassman.
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The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office is now targeting its marketing and recruiting efforts on social media.