Missouri County Jail Looking for New Ways to Hire and Retain Correctional Officers

Turnover rates for correctional officers are a problem throughout many of the nation’s jails and prisons, and Boone County, Missouri is no exception. But a new pilot program may be the answer they’ve been looking for.

The Boone County Sheriff’s Department has experienced some difficulties retaining correctional officers. From Jan 2012 to November 2013, 21 correctional officers were hired, yet 27 have left. The Boone County Jail is now at 53 full-time employees; that’s 11 officers fewer than what they need.

In Search of Qualified Correctional Officers

They could bemoan their bad luck and keep the hiring process is full swing at all times, or they could figure out the problem and try to remedy it. They chose the latter. The Boone County Sheriff’s Department has begun implementing a pilot program that is designed to better attract and retain great employees, both in their law enforcement and corrections divisions.

A Quicker, More Efficient Hiring Process Takes Shape

The Department has already kicked off the program by figuring out a way to get candidates through the application and hiring process quicker, and they have encouraged candidates to complete their job shadow program, which allows them to get a good understanding of the position before applying for it. The hiring process has been cut down from four months to between 6 and 8 weeks.

But that’s not all; the Department plans to implement a scholarship program that would send corrections officers to the police academy to become deputies. They also plan to eliminate consistencies in the hiring process, thereby making it easier to disqualify those individuals who are not a good match for the position before spending the time and money on putting them through the testing process.

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The Department, in the past, has struggled with finding qualified candidates, so they continue to find ways to attract qualified applicants. The Department has plans to continue meeting and finding new ways to reduce turn-over rates. And a salary study is expected to be commissioned either in 2014 or 2015; one hasn’t been completed in more than 10 years.