‘The talent pool has become the talent puddle’; local sheriff gets creative with hiring

Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 9:09 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV) – As police departments across the country struggle to fill critical staff positions, some local departments are getting creative with who they are trying to recruit.

Jefferson County Sheriff Dave Marshak told News 4 that his department is facing a recruiting crisis.

“The reality is, the talent pool has become the talent puddle,” he said. “I say that jokingly, but at the same time, we have serious issues and concerns about our long-term success in recruiting.”

Marshak said they are seeing more officers retire and struggling to get quality candidates to apply.

“We are competing with a workforce and go to any position and make more money and not have the same scrutiny as a police officer,” said Marshak.

Marshak’s department has a new policy that involves hiring lateral police officers. Traditionally, if an officer comes from another department, they’d have to start from the bottom in terms of pay and vacation time. Now, if you have 10 years as an officer, you’ll start with that seniority in Jefferson County.

“I think there is some criticism on what I am doing, taking police from other organizations, but my responsibility is the community I am sworn to uphold.”

Other agencies are following suit. A spokesperson for St. Louis County told News 4, “This is something our department is considering as it could possibly help increase our numbers through recruitment. No official decision (or date) regarding the matter has been set to make the change.”

Marshak’s agency allows officers to take-home cars. They are considering other incentives too. He expects their budget to increase to accommodate the higher salaries. He said a brand new police officer starts at $55,000, but lateral officers could make up to $76,000 a year and up to five weeks of vacation.