In the community

Sheriff’s office event aims to speed up hiring process to plug vacancies

ONTARIO – Malheur County Sheriff Travis Johnson wants to speed up the process to hire new employees and hopes an event set for July 29 will be a good step to get more people to fill empty positions in his jail and patrol divisions.

The expedited hiring event begins at 8 a.m. and goes until 4 p.m. at the Malheur County Parole & Probation office at 1682 S.W. Fourth Ave. in Ontario.

Johnson wants to move people into jobs faster if they qualify.

“One reason we are potentially losing applicants is because it takes a long time to get through the process,” said Johnson.

He said now it can take months to hire a new employee.

“The application, the test, the interviews, the drug test, the physical, the psyche test and the background check can take up to four months,” he said.

Just a background check, he said, requires several weeks.

“And that is if we have someone free to do it. If we have a major event that ties up our background investigator, that can add a week or two to the process,” he said.

Johnson said people apply for open jobs at the sheriff’s office but then “get bored and there is so many other jobs out there they get sick of waiting around.”

He said the July 29 event should “cut a month out of our process” with on-site teams ready to move candidates along.

“It is going to be a big event and take a lot of manpower. But we will have an interview panel, a proctor for the test, someone grading the test and someone helping with applications to make sure people are getting them done correctly. You can apply, take the test and interview all in one day,” said Johnson.

Johnson said his office has made significant progress filling empty positions in its dispatch center.

“We have dispatch filled,” he said.

Yet there are two open positions in the patrol division and nine empty slots in the jail, he said.

“The jail is a nationwide issue. It is not unique to us. Employee shortages are not unique to anyone right now,” he said.

A patrol deputy receives a starting salary of $4,227 a month while a corrections deputy starts with a salary of $3,839 a month. A corrections control technician begins work with a salary of $3,174 plus benefits.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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