Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Academy’s New Class Sees More Diversity

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is pushing for new hires again. They announced hiring incentives of $ 5,000 for pre-certified law enforcement officers on Monday.

As they look to hire more MPs, they hope to continue to diversify their forces, especially after receiving a backlash this summer for a promotion of MPs who were all white males.

“Our community wants to see a law enforcement agency that reflects them,” said Deputy Chief Wayne Hudson. “Plus the diversity is good. When you are looking for gender diversity, culture diversity, ethnic diversity, with these comes diversity of thought.

Since the June promotion, Hudson says the agency has made great strides in recruiting candidates of color and female candidates.

“We have done a number of things to try to attract more women and minority agents to our agency, for example, we have advertised on city buses that usually pass through minority communities because we want to trying to attract more people to take the test, “he says.

The office also spoke with local churches, encouraging congregations to apply. The biggest change, however, has been a new resource for the office.

“We hired a minority consulting firm to come and review our test and maintenance process, so what they did for us was they set up the tests and the interviews,” said Hudson. “Well, what we’ve seen in this last class is that our diversity numbers have increased. “

The class going to the academy has 10 people, five of whom are from minority groups.

“We have three women, including one African American, and this is probably the second time in about 70 years that we have had two African American women at the same time in the agency. I know we also have at least two Hispanic men. So for our numbers to have so much diversity in a class, it’s totally different from what we usually have. “

Deputy Chief Hudson also adds that this next push for candidates comes as they prepare for the retirement of several MPs. It is also as they prepare for the opening of the new juvenile justice center in 2023.

“When we first hire an assistant, it takes about eight months before that assistant is ready for use on its own, so knowing that the juvenile justice center is going to open in early 2023, we need to hire, train and have these deputies ready now, ”he said.

Hudson says the new center could occupy between five and eight MPs at one time.

“So we’re still looking at the current caseload of juvenile justice judges, but another thing we’re looking at is, if they’re in a new facility, will there be new procedures, will there be there more audiences? Because all the minors are in one place, so if that is the case, if they are in detention, we will have to have a deputy there present with them at all times.

And as an incentive, the sheriff’s office announced a hiring bonus of $ 5,000 for some candidates.

“Right now, other agencies are offering incentives to pre-certified law enforcement officers. academy, so that we can train them much faster by taking on-the-job training, and integrate them into the community, protecting the community much faster.

The board currently has about 129 sworn-in MPs, and to be full they need 137. Hudson says the gap doesn’t impact their response times, and never will.

“One thing we never run out of is our patrol division, which is the tip of the spear for every law enforcement agency, so if we need to move bodies to make sure our patrol is manned, it is what we will do. Thus, the community is never affected by anything that happens in our agency when it comes to a lack of assistants.

Hudson says a constant struggle is competing with surrounding law enforcement for MPs and officers. This is another reason why they offer hiring incentive.

“We’re not losing people in Grand Junction or Kansas or something, but I will lose them to the Omaha Police Department of the Bellevue Police Department, so what we’re asking the county to do is when negotiating with our union is to really look into our competing agencies because we have very bright and talented people here and what I don’t want to do is be the training ground for other agencies, So we have to increase their salary, adjust their benefits, so that we can keep our best and brightest.

As another form of recruiting, Hudson says the office hopes to start a program with Omaha Public Schools and the Metropolitan Community College. Their goal is to connect with Northwest High’s Career Academy for Criminal Justice and work to encourage students to go on to Metro’s Criminal Justice Program afterwards while working a day or two with the Sheriff’s Office.

This tool would be a “school-to-job pipeline” and encourage young adults to seriously consider law enforcement careers in their communities.

You can apply online to be part of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office team.

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