There is a saying that “good things come to those who wait.” That, unfortunately, does not apply to countless Sheriff’s Security Officers (SSO) and Security Assistants (SSA) who have been waiting far too long for the opportunity to promote to deputy sheriff. I’m not making the argument that all SSOs/SSAs are ready for the DST academy, but I know plenty who have the discipline, experience and passion needed to excel as a deputy sheriff. They are ready — some have been ready for years! Yet their dedicated service is rewarded with neither acknowledgement nor opportunity to promote. Instead, they have to start completely over with the application — as if they’re walking in off the street with no work experience whatsoever. Let’s be frank: When it comes to applying for deputy sheriff, there is no advantage for those with years of commitment to the Department. Recruitment crisis? What recruitment crisis?
To make matters worse, too many of our absolute finest SSOs and SSAs are left with no choice but to leave for competing agencies to begin a career as a sworn peace officer. Talk about a lose-lose situation for the Department!
Meanwhile, the rotating roster of Department executives that speaks at our graduations always seem to reference the notion that the Sheriff’s Department is a family. The problem is that this family puts out a nice welcome mat for security personnel but then closes every door once they enter. What kind of family is that?
I’ve been on the Department for 18 years and have witnessed a lot of positive changes but this glaring issue is an insult to security officers and security assistants (custody assistants, too!) who put in years of dedicated, professional service. They are an asset to this Department and deserve better.
On a positive note, I want to congratulate SSO Class 50, including Honor Recruit Robert Bañuelos. I was honored to join them at their graduation in May (see page 18) and was very impressed by their poise and professionalism. Not surprisingly, most of them aspire to be deputies one day. Hopefully, the Department won’t stand in their way.