Twin Falls County Sheriff

Twin Falls County Sheriff Tom Carter in his office on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, in Twin Falls.

STEPHEN REISS, TIMES-NEWS

TWIN FALLS — The Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office is seeking to hire a new patrol deputy and build a roster of candidates who can fill upcoming vacancies in the office over the next year.

But consistent with a nationwide trend, the office has struggled to find candidates to fill a recruiting pool.

“It’s hard to speculate why,” sheriff’s office spokeswoman Lori Stewart said. “It’s hard to say without polling people … but we know that law enforcement recruitment is down nationwide.”

Experts from around the Magic Valley believe the decline in law enforcement students and recruitment is based on several factors, including anti-police sentiment, an improving economy and neighboring states’ legalized marijuana laws – the county sheriff’s office requires new hires to not have used marijuana within the past year, while the Idaho Peace Officers Standards and Training’s academy requires abstinence from marijuana for three previous years.

“In conversations with the younger population, even though marijuana is still illegal, there’s more of an openness in their attitude,” Stewart said.

Becoming a sheriff’s deputy is “certainly not a job for everyone,” Stewart said, what with “12-hour shifts and being away from family.”

“But for the right person and the right candidate, this is an incredible opportunity,” Stewart said.

The office did get a boost last year when the county commissioners voted to join Idaho’s public retirement system. Since Sept. 13, 2015, the county and its employees, including sheriff’s deputies, have paid into PERSI rather than the Nationwide retirement plan that was previously in place.

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Those interested in becoming part of the new recruitment pool should be certified through POST or should have successfully completed the law enforcement program through the College of Southern Idaho or a similar accredited college.

The sheriff’s office hopes to build a pool of eligible candidates, one of whom will be hired immediately as a patrol deputy, Capt. Brent Hilliard said. Over the next year, if other deputies retire or leave the office, TFCSO will likely hire from the candidate pool.

According to the job posting, the new deputy will work varied shifts that could include weekends and holidays. Hourly pay starts between $18 and $22.81, depending on experience, and the office offers medical and other benefits. The deadline to apply is Nov. 28.

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