Colusa County Sheriff plucking recruits from community

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The Colusa County Sheriff’s Department will continue to boost recruitment and retention efforts by growing their own deputies. 

The Board of Supervisors on Sept. 24 authorized Sheriff Joe Garofalo to put as many as three recruits through the Peace Officer Standards and Training Academy, which starts anew in December, in an effort to fill the current openings he has in law enforcement. 

Human Resources Director Patricia Leland said Colusa County has supported the training program for nearly two decades as a way to attract recruits with ties to the community. 

Officials said they hope by paying for the academy, along with giving the recruits a monthly fee and benefits, the deputies hired to go through the program will stay in Colusa County rather than use their first assignments as springboards for higher paying jobs elsewhere. 

“It’s proven successful,” said Garofalo, who has eight deputies out of 10 that Colusa County sent through the program still working.

Leland said Colusa County isn’t the only jurisdiction whose recruitment efforts have become creative amid declining interest in law enforcement jobs.  

“So many agencies are offering all kinds of incentives and hiring right out of the academy,” she said. 

Garofalo currently has four vacant deputy positions, but will keep one position open for a more seasoned officer. 

Of three strong candidates eyed for the openings, one has been given an offer to go to the academy. The other two potential candidates are currently going through the background process, the sheriff said. 

While the Sheriff’s Department historically asks for a 30-month commitment, such requirements are usually not enforceable by law. That is why Garofalo said looking for trainees in and around Colusa County, as he did for the current recruits, helps to attract candidates more willing to stick close to home. 

“They have ties to the community,” Garofalo said. “I hope they will stay, but there are no guarantees.”

It will take about six months to get the trainees through the academy and on the job, so all three recruits could be on staff by June, officials said. ■