The Sheriff's Office Hiring Process
Our selection process is lengthy and rigorous, but the work done by our deputies requires employees who are dedicated professionals of the highest integrity. Every interaction that a citizen has with our deputies is a reflection on our office.
It is vital that every time a person comes into contact with one of our deputies that they have absolute confidence they are dealing with the very best and that they can place their complete trust in that person.
-- Sheriff Pat Garrett
Applying Online or Submitting an Application in Person
Applications are submitted by interested people through the Washington County Human Resources Department either in person or online.
Those who meet the minimum qualifications for the position are invited to participate in a series of job-related tests and a physical fitness test.
You will also be invited to attend optional study sessions to help prepare you for the tests. If you are unable to attend, please review this document: WCSO Recruit Study Session Presentation.
The Initial Selection Process
Applicants who pass these tests are then interviewed by a panel that normally consists of three sergeants. The purpose is to evaluate the applicant's communication skills and decision-making ability.
Next, applicants must go through a rigorous background investigation process. The background investigations are normally performed by retired detectives who return to assist the Sheriff's Office with this critical hiring function. This step includes an interview with a background investigator, checking employment references, a credit check, criminal history check, and even talking with people you name as references and other past and current friends and associates of the candidate. The goal is to get a complete well-rounded picture of the candidate's personal, academic, and professional life.
Each candidate is given a chance to actually visit the environment they applied to work in. For instance, Recruit Deputy Sheriff (entry level) or Deputy Sheriff (Patrol deputies) applicants will have a chance to ride along with a patrol member during a shift. Corrections Officer Trainees (entry level) and Corrections Officers (Jail deputies) will have a similar opportunity in the jail. This process gives the applicant a chance to see the work they will perform if they are hired and allows them to ask questions. If you apply for both patrol and jail, you will job shadow in each of those areas.
Interviewing With the Division Commander
The Patrol Division Commander or the Jail Division Commander, as appropriate, will interview finalists and refer the strongest candidates to interview with the Sheriff. Normally, only the Sheriff will make an actual job offer.
Interviewing With the Sheriff
During the final interview, Sheriff Pat Garrett decides whether to make a candidate a conditional offer of employment based on all the available information. Before beginning work the applicant must successfully complete a comprehensive physical and psychological exam and a drug screening. Candidates will then begin different forms of on-the-job training.
On the Job Training Time
|Initial Training||Patrol Training||Jail Training|
|In-House Training Academy||7-8 weeks||7-8 weeks|
|State Police Academy||16 weeks||5 weeks|
|With Field Training Officer||4-5 months||4-5 months|
Finally, all new recruits must successfully complete an 18-month probationary period that begins the date they were hired.
How Long Does the Full Process Take?
The entire process from the date of initial testing to final selection can take several months. Further, the names of all successful candidates are maintained on an eligibility list for six months. This means that if you are not initially selected, you may be considered for future vacancies for up to six months from the date your name is placed on the list. At times the list will be extended to one year.
The Sheriff's Office is comprised of several divisions – Patrol, Jail, Investigations, and Services. While these divisions have various assigned functions, we highly value intra-agency cooperation and respect. As an employee in our office, you will become familiar with the other work groups as well as work side-by-side with members of special enforcement or response teams.
In 2004, the Sheriff's Office began offering Patrol corporals an opportunity to spend time working with detectives to polish their investigative skills. This five-week program is structured and allows corporals time to work in a variety of work groups, such as Property Crimes, Violent Crimes, Child Abuse, and Fraud. It is also flexible enough to allow the corporal to investigate any unusual or complex case that may arise during their training period.
Another uncommon feature of the Sheriff's Office is that we allow members who transfer from the Jail to Patrol or from Patrol to the Jail to maintain dual certifications. We currently have 22 deputies who are certified in both patrol and corrections. Deputies may begin their career in either the Patrol or the Jail Division.
These deputies can work in patrol, investigations (detectives), or in the jail. This is important because it leads to better cooperation among divisions. Having this type of flexibility among certified personnel allows your Sheriff's Office to rapidly adjust operations agency-wide. Sheriff Garrett, who served as an interim Jail Commander, holds both certifications and is a strong proponent of this program.
Mobility and Cooperation Within the Sheriff's Office
As deputies from Patrol or Corrections gain experience at the Sheriff's Office, a wealth of opportunities for changing assignments and promoting become available.