Tuesday Topics - Coverage, Recruitment and Retention
Hello everyone and welcome to another addition of Tuesdays Topics. I will continue this week discussing some of the challenges facing Laramie County and the Sheriff’s Office and my plans for addressing them.
Rural Coverage- It is no secret that the Sheriff’s Department is struggling with staffing issues as are the vast number of law enforcement agencies across the country. In the past year or so six patrol deputies retired after long careers and several others have left for more lucrative job opportunities. This diminished our ability to have dedicated deputies working the rural areas of Laramie County. Due to the large wage disparity between the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office and the surrounding agencies who were in some cases offering four dollars an hour more, we were unable to recruit enough quality applicants to fill the open patrol positions.
Working with the commissioners and other County entities this budget year I was able to secure a market pay adjustment which brought the agency’s compensation in line with the Cheyenne Police Department at around $26 an hour.
Since the pay adjustment we have seen a large increase in qualified applicants for the detention and patrol positions we have open, but it will take time to fill them. Once hired, it can take up to seven months for a newly hired patrol deputy to be out on their own. Three months are spent at the Wyoming Law enforcement Academy and another four are spent in the departments training program before they are qualified to hit the streets solo. My goal is to not only rebuild the Rural Deputy Division as new deputies are hired, should I be elected, I will also work on realigning the patrol areas to better cover not only the rural communities, but the ever-growing number of new subdivisions as Laramie County continues to expand. I will also be reviewing staffing numbers in the years to come and be requesting additional patrol positions from the commissioners as our county population rises.
Recruiting and Retention- Now that the wages are comparable to the other area agencies, we are better positioned to recruit qualified applicants for the open positions. For months now we have been working with staff and students in the Audio-Visual Department at the Laramie County Community college to develop a recruitment video highlighting all of the positive aspects of a career with the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office, these videos are due to rollout over the next few months and will be advertised locally and across the country. We have also developed a recruiting team comprised of civilian and sworn staff in both detention and patrol divisions. These individuals have been working together to enhance our recruitment efforts as well as brainstorming employee retention ideas.
In any organization there are opportunities for growth and positive change. Should I be blessed by the voters of Laramie County and be elected Sheriff; I pledge to visit with each and every staff member in the agency and find out what their thoughts are for the direction of this office. We have such an amazing group of people, both civilian and sworn who have given of themselves in their individual capacities and is a team to better the lives of the citizens of this great County. I want to find out from each of them how I can improve their work and home life balance. It is my goal to create an environment where staff members come to see this organization as an extension of their family and pass on their knowledge to those just entering this profession.
Until next time, stay safe and God bless.