In my last blog, I talked about my visit to Jail North with the Sheriff’s Office Citizens’ Academy. The second half of our time there was learning about the process of recruitment and training of officers. Deputy J. Ryan Moore, recruiter/applicant investigator, briefed us on the procedure to hire deputies and detention officers. Don’t get the idea that anyone can walk in, apply, and they’re automatically in. It is a process. There are three categories of employment: Detention Officer, Deputy Sheriff, and Civilian Employee. Deputy Moore addressed the requirements of becoming a detention officer or deputy sheriff. Once the applicant applies online and meets the basic criteria, they must pass a physical assessment test. In this test, they must perform 14 pushups in one minute, 25 sit ups in one minute, run 300 meters in less than 92 seconds, and run 1.5 miles in 18.50 minutes. It makes me tired thinking about it! But it is essential; otherwise, how can an officer deal with a belligerent inmate or chase down a suspect? Applicants must also pass a reading comprehension test.
Once an applicant passes the physical assessment, applicants must go through psychological testing as well as meet with a licensed psychologist. If all goes well, applicants are selected for interviews. If they are deemed a potential candidate for the academy, a process of extensive background check, medical screening, and drug testing begins. All deputy sheriffs must have the Basic Law Enforcement Training certification before applying to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office program. They become dual certified as a Detention Officer, which requires 10 weeks of additional training at the Academy alongside Detention Officer recruits.
Commandant Cannon McFarley told us that new recruits will go through a rigorous program that test their mental and physical abilities. The first five weeks is NC Detention Officer Certification training followed by a state administered test to receive certification as a NC Detention Officer. The additional MCSO POST School will include academics, extensive scenario training, and the policies and procedures of MCSO. At last, there is graduation, a happy day I’m sure when Sheriff Chipp Bailey gives them a handshake and a certificate that makes all the hard work worthwhile.
Next time you see a deputy, think about what it took for he or she to wear the uniform. I feel that these outstanding individuals chose law enforcement because they love what they do and want to serve the public. Let’s get real. They didn’t pick the career for the money. Their jobs put them at risk as they are out there trying to make us safer. I am thankful that they go into this field ready, able, and well trained.