Sheriff using plan to retain more officers

April 5, 2019

A higher beginning salary and a new promotion system favoring current employees should help the Allen County Sheriff’s Department retain confinement officers, officials said.

“We currently have 126 confinement officers and are staffed 100%,” Steve Stone, sheriff’s spokesman, said Thursday in an email. “We lose officers to other departments, promotion to commissioned police officers within our own department, retirements and a variety of other reasons, so we are always looking for qualified candidates to put in a list to fill the openings as they arise.”

Starting pay is now 35,000.

The change to promoting from within was a suggestion from Deputy Chief Gary Grant, who started reviewing the hiring process and confinement officer retention when he took over his position in August, Stone said.

“After presenting his ideas to Sheriff (David) Gladieux, he got the go-ahead to travel to other departments and look into how they hire and retain their employees,” Stone said. “Since he has implemented the new process, we have heard very positive feedback from our employees.”

That feedback came after Grant visited the jail about five weeks ago to explain the new promotion system.

“It’s put an excitement there,” Grant said, noting that in his 26 years with the department, he doesn’t recall a time the jail was fully staffed.

“We’ve had a couple of people leave for a better-paying job, but we’ve had people in place to replace them,” Grant said.

While some confinement officers are pleased promotions will more than likely come from their ranks, “a lot of them (officers) are happy where they’re at,” Grant said.

The department will also help candidates prepare themselves for applying to other positions by offering practice exams and agility tests.

All future deputy openings will be posted internally, Stone and Grant said.

Sheriff’s deputy pay starts about 54,700.

The hiring process for confinement officers has also been slashed from two to three months to 30 days from application to hire. Confinement officer applicants must pass a criminal history check and a polygraph test, but are no longer required to take a psychological evaluation and a physical and drug screen, Stone said.