Milwaukee County hoping to bolster corrections officer numbers with hiring event

NOW: Milwaukee County hoping to bolster corrections officer numbers with hiring event

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office says they're currently running with 100 less correctional officers for the county jail than they're budgeted for.

They're trying to address that issue with a hiring event this week, amidst an ongoing national law enforcement hiring decline.

"Right now, we're looking for dedicated men and women who want to be a part of something greater, that will affect the community in a positive way," said Lt. Noel Ybarra of the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office.

Lt. Ybarra says he's made a career out of being a corrections officer.

A career that he says provides important benefits like health insurance, dental and for now, even a pension.

With starting pay anywhere from $24-$27 an hour, and only needing to be 19 while having a high school diploma or GED with no non-pardoned felonies to apply, Lt. Yabarra says the positions are surprisingly hard to fill.

"It's not just a Milwaukee County thing. It's a thing in general, for the law enforcement field. Nowadays, people do not want to get into this line of work. So, with that being said, we've seen decreases in applications," said Lt. Ybarra.

According to the Police Executive Research Forum, of the 184 agencies they survey yearly, resignations have gone up by nearly 50% since before the COIVD-19 pandemic, with total sworn-in officers across the agencies decreasing by 5%, meaning they're losing officers faster than they're hiring them.

Lt. Ybarra says despite the challenges recruitment has faced, such as the difficulty of the work, and deaths in jail potentially harming perceptions, they're hoping to change course.

"We're doing all we can to try to promote who we are and what we're about and let people know how great of a job this is to actually apply for," said Lt. Ybarra.

Lt. Ybarra says it's getting less and less common to be able to make a career out of a job, but he has made a meaningful and impacting career with Milwaukee County.

"Apply for the correctional position, you know, not everybody wants to be on the road, pulling people over or whatever the case may be. This is a great position where you still work for a law enforcement agency, but inside of a confined area," said Lt. Ybarra.

He says it's also possible to move to other areas of law enforcement with the proper training.

"We give you the tools that you need to be successful. And you still are a part of something bigger," said Lt. Ybarra.

If you're interested, you can apply online by clicking here, and going to the hiring event Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Zoofari Conference Center off Bluemound Road in Wauwatosa.

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