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Sheriff's offices see fewer applicantsSubmitted: 03/02/2015

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NORTHWOODS - Sheriff's Offices in the Northwoods sometimes struggle to find qualified applicants to become sheriff's deputies, and they're not alone. It's a growing trend across the country.


"We want to attract the best deputy sheriff applicants that we can, and that's what we strive for," said Vilas County Sheriff Joe Fath.

He says people aren't half as interested as they used to be in working in law enforcement.

"Fifteen to 20 years ago, we used to maybe get 100 applicants, where now we're maybe getting 40 or 50," Fath said.

"Years ago, the government jobs were looked at as good paying, high paying jobs, excellent benefit," said Capt. Lloyd Gauthier of the Oneida County Sheriff's Office. "That's not always the case nowadays. The private sector is much more competitive."

A smaller applicant pool also means fewer qualified candidates. After passing various tests and interviews, applicants need to pass a background check. However, that last hurdle proved too high for some of Oneida County's most recent finalists.

"You look at social networking...some of the things that they're involved in--when they're not realizing that that's an important part of who they are--are things that we don't want employed here," Gauthier said.

Sheriff's offices in the Northwoods also struggle to find qualified applicants because they're having to compete with larger agencies that are constantly recruiting. They also need to compete with each other.

"Right now, Oneida and Vilas counties are competing for people in that job market and Oneida County pays a little bit more starting, and we have a little different work schedule," Fath explained.

Oneida County's starting pay is about $3 more per hour than Vilas County's. However, that could change. Vilas county's personnel committee is in negotiations with the Deputy Sheriff's Association.

"We joke with other administrators at other departments about who's on our list and who's on their list, and if we can beat them to them to get the qualified candidates because if you are a qualified candidate, you will end up with a job somewhere because, again, there are few of those," Gauthier said.

They hope more people will want to start a career in law enforcement.

"No two days are the same, so if you're looking for a variety and you're looking for a job that you will never get bored with, law enforcement is a great career opportunity," Fath said.

Both counties are looking to fill two to three deputy positions. They see the most turnover in corrections officers working in their jail. Some workers just decide that career isn't for them. Both offices have or will soon have openings in their dispatch centers. You can find applications at the links below.

Related Weblinks:
Vilas County Sheriff's Office Employment
Oneida County Sheriff's Office Employment

Story By: Lauren Stephenson

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