SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane County Sheriff's Office is recruiting deputy's to fill 90 position openings over the next three years and it's looking at ways to make that process easier.
A wave of deputies are retiring and those positions need to be filled.
"If we wanted to hire somebody and we hired them today, they wait six months before they can go into any kind of training," said Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. "We're going to change that."
New recruits go through 41 weeks of training - a large portion of that is spent at a state-run academy. There is a high demand and limited capacity to train officers.
"Right now, this is an effort so that we can hire, get them up to speed, get through the training car," said Knezovich.
That is why the Sheriff's Office is looking into creating its own pre-training academy, something to get deputies up to speed before the state academy and reduce the chance they may go elsewhere.
"The longer we have somebody wait before we can hire them, the risk we run is that they get hired by somebody else. This prevents that," said Knezovich.
The County is also looking at the option that it's pre-academy could one day function as it's own state accredited academy.
"We're working with colleges, WSU, to help us with curriculum and things like that."
If that happens, it would save time on deputy training and taxpayer's money - almost half a million dollars each year once it's up and running. It would also screen candidates who change their minds about the job.
"Sometimes they don't figure out that you know, this isn't for us until they hit the training car, so all those months of training just went down the train," said Knezovich.
For those that do make it through, they've already experience life on the streets in the county they trained in