Archive for Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Sheriff hopes to boost department ranks

July 23, 2003

The officer-strapped sheriff's department is looking for a few good men and women.

But Leavenworth County Sheriff Herb Nye said the $12.06 per hour starting pay doesn't just appeal to everyone. And, the first days on the job are likely to be a little confining.

The sheriff's department also operates the county jail.

"Everyone starts in detention," Nye said. "If you have a certificate as a law enforcement officer, especially in Kansas, you're still going to go through detention officer training so you'll have familiarity, but you'll move faster out to the road if we have openings."

Currently, the department is 11 officers short. And the situation is getting worse.

"We're going to be down to 13," Nye said. "We just had two more resign."

One of those officers is moving out of the county to take another job. The other, Nye said, has accepted a much higher paying job to go to Iraq to teach law enforcement.

"I told the commissioners I needed to get seven people on board as fast as I can," Nye said. "It's just draining us dry on overtime, and it's really affecting morale -- bad."

But the hitch isn't with the commissioners, Nye said. It's with the lengthy application process.

"We have you apply, then you have to fill out a personal history statement and take the civil service test," Nye said. "You just can't do it in one day."

Applicants also have to pass physical examinations.

It could be two officers will soon be returning from military duty, which will help ease the tight schedules, Nye said.

And, more may be coming on board.

"We're always taking applications," Nye said. "We're doing backgrounds on several hirings right now. We've hired one, and we're looking at three others right now."

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