Assistant Sheriff Robert Ahern
Human Resource Services Bureau

Attracting and retaining qualified people is one of the main functions of the Human Resource Services Bureau (HRSB). With a budget of more than $17 million, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department concentrated on a proactive and aggressive campaign to seek qualified candidates to fill our vacancies. In addition to our Recruiting Unit, there were a wide range of services provided by HRSB, including the Personnel Unit which provides background checks, computer voice stress analyzer tests, and processes all new employees.

The Personnel Unit also provided career path assistance for all sworn staff and had comparable services available for professional staff. The unit also worked closely with HRSB Command Staff to process promotions and retirements. The Personnel and Payroll Units worked very closely to ensure all information in our system of record was accurate. HRSB is also responsible for various types of training for the department’s new and tenured employees. The Risk Management and Medical Liaison Unit also function within HRSB and managed all health-related issues for the department. Employee Relations provided quality employee relations services to managers and employees of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, which include labor negotiations, discipline and grievance administration, management-union relations, consultations with operating department managers and human resources management.

Reaching Out

In 2008, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department made several changes and incorporated innovative ideas into its recruiting program. These changes have helped increase the pool of applicants and ultimately placed the department in the forefront of recruiting. Throughout the year, recruiters traveled to various career fairs, military events and educational institutions to attract quality and diverse candidates to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

In all, recruiters;
  • Attended 72 recruiting-related events in and outside San Diego County.
  • Responded to almost 10,000 recruiting related phone calls and e-mail.
  • Tested nearly 4,000 applicants.

Maintaining High Standards

The above mentioned aggressive hiring campaign resulted in a large increase in training academy cadets. HRSB placed 184 cadets into the Regional Law Enforcement Academy and 144 cadets into the Sheriff’s Detentions-Courts Service Academy, as well 24 lateral and open enrollee graduate candidates hired for both the Law Enforcement and Detentions Units. The department hired 259 new sworn employees in 2008. These cumulative efforts resulted in a low of 28 sworn vacancies, equating to a 1% vacancy rate.

The Training Unit met that challenge and increased training for our tenured employees. The In-Service Training Unit kept abreast of national and local trends and interpreted that data to design excellent training programs for members of the department. The In-Service Training Unit provided many courses ranging from traffic investigation to Taser familiarization. This arduous task proved successful with the many courses offered not only to Sheriff’s deputies, but also to outside law enforcement officers throughout the state. The In-Service Training Unit conducted a staggering 41,196 hours of POST certified training for sworn members of the Sheriff’s Department.

The Sheriff’s Weapons Training Unit (WTU) provided numerous firearm courses throughout 2008, such as, firearm and rifle instructor classes, firearm safety classes, less-lethal training as well as two department wide qualifications for more than 2,400 employees. WTU’s mobile armory helped to service more than 2,000 weapons for 1,400 deputies. The department’s mobile armory greatly increased the ability to travel to the respective commands and service weapons immediately. Many construction projects were performed at the Sheriff’s ranges and Duffytown to help the unit’s training effectiveness.

The Sheriff’s Canine Unit conducted three canine academies and trained eight dogs in 2008. A rural canine training facility was built in Ranchita which helped to localize the training for our rural canine handlers. In 2008, the canine unit apprehended 271 suspects, conducted 2,339 security checks and 330 building searches.

The Professional Staff Training Unit is responsive to the needs of our professional staff members and is continually designing and providing new courses that will continue to keep our department on the cutting edge of law enforcement services. A myriad of courses designed to enhance and improve the skills and supervision techniques of our professional staff members were offered. There were more than 12,881 hours of training offered to our professional staff. The ever-changing and expanding Sheriff’s Department welcomed 170 new professional staff in 2008.

The Risk Management and Medical Liaison Units were responsible for coordinating health and safety issues for approximately 4,000 employees. They handled issues with worker’s compensation, all types of illness and injury leave, and worked to ensure a safe work environment.

The Payroll Unit was responsible for ensuring the accurate and appropriate compensation for approximately 4,000 employees. They were committed to seeking innovative ways to improve production and working relationships with all of those they support.
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