The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office just added 75 new beds at the jail this spring and 75 more will open by the end of the year after the quorum court approves them. That means a big demand for new detention officers.
The sheriff's office gained about two dozen new jailer jobs through the expansion and now it needs to fill at least 12 jailer positions. That's in addition to the new class of deputies it's training right now.
These 15 deputies are training for life inside jail. They'll each be responsible for 70 or more inmates. So they have to know how to use force when necessary and how to communicate.
"It's a lot harder than you would think. The average public, they have no idea what it's like in the jail, in the detention center. You have no idea what it's like until you actually go off into a unit," says Deputy James Hennigan.
Deputy Hennigan, who's going through the training, worked as a corrections officer before for the state. He says this seven-week training course is vital.
"You're basically taking care of all of their needs for an eight hour shift and you have to be able to multi-task and solve problems," Hennigan said.
"We've had guys who've had to work overtime. Our staffing was at a minimum," said Lieutenant Carl Minden with the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office. "Obviously now we can hold more people and we can hire more people."
The sheriff's office just added 75 more beds this spring and 75 more are coming by the end of the year after a quorum court approval bringing the total to 1,130.
Applicants interested in the new position need to pass the psychological, physical exam and drug screening. Lt. Minden says even though a lot of people may apply, it can be hard to find people who meet all the requirements. Those who do it, he says, state that it is rewarding.
"You know that by doing your job on a daily basis the community on the whole is safer," says Lt. Minden.
Incidentally those jobs pay about $30,000 a year
and provide benefits. Applicants must have a high school diploma and no felony convictions to be considered.
The maximum number of beds the Pulaski County Jail can hold is 1,130. It would take a new building to hold any more than that. Those on the Pulaski County Quorum Court say it may be two or three years before that's feasible.