NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — The department wants to hire nine new “merit” or road deputies to replace personnel that are retiring or leaving the department beginning in December. However the talent pool of interested applicants is shrinking and the competition to hire them is increasing.
Hamilton County’s Public Information Officer recently attended a recruitment event in Ft. Wayne, and he wasn’t the only one there.
“Everybody was there, Chicago PD was there, Detroit PD was there, Ohio State Patrol was there, Secret Service, FBI, everybody was trying to do the same thing,” said Deputy Bryan Melton.
Melton said when he joined the sheriff’s office 25 years ago, there were a lot more people interested in policing.
“I don’t remember what the amount of jobs that were available, but there were 600 to 900 applicants taking the same test, now it’s hard for us to get 70 to a 100 applicants to take that test.”
There are currently 61 road deputies responsible for covering one of the fastest growing areas in Indiana. That’s in addition to 195 other courthouse and detention deputues along with civilian employees.
“It won’t impact public safety because we have enough people to fulfill those spots, what I mean by that is administrators in the hallway, if we need to we can come out and fill those voids, and work the road.”
To attract potential candidates, the department is offering a starting salary of $61,000 an amount that will automatically increase at the beginning of 2023. Deputies also get paid sick time, holidays and vacation.
The requirement that deputies live in Hamilton County is also being waived.
“I know the last two or three years it seems like law enforcement has taken a little bit of a black eye, beat down a little bit, but the thing is there’s still people out there that want to do the job, there’s still qualified candidates, it’s just a matter of them coming forward,” Melton said.
Applicants must pass a background check, along with written and physical fitness tests. The department is shortening the testing time from four to six months to six weeks to expedite the hiring process.