First and foremost, there needs to be a more efficient and effective recruiting process for sheriff deputies. The Sheriff's Office needs approximately 250 deputies to operate efficiently and effectively. Currently the Enforcement Bureau has seen a mass exodus and are staffed at 150-175 deputies below the approved coded positions. The Custody Bureau is also in dire need of approximately 100 deputies. These vacancies are currently being filled by deputies working overtime which is causing the budget to soar.
My plan to recruit and retain deputies will be based on common sense. First, I will present the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors with a plan to merge the enforcement bureau and the custody bureau. Moving forward, I would like to have one academy, and everyone will graduate with a POST certificate. Graduates will work at the jails for 6-8 months. Then they will train on patrol, and then in the courts. The current custody bureau deputies will also be given the opportunity to complete additional training to obtain a POST certificate. Upon graduation, from the POST academy, they will sign a contract and commit to a minimum of 5 years with the Sheriff's Office. If they opt to leave earlier, they will be required to pay a portion of their training fees back to the agency.
With an actual retention program in place, the Backgrounds Unit will not have to rush applicants through the hiring process. They will have ample time to conduct a thorough investigation of each applicant and have a greater success rate of weeding out the "bad apples". The most important quality I want in each applicant is for them to value human life.
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