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Police Officers Needed

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Police and sheriff's departments in California are putting out wanted posters, but they're not looking for lawbreakers. On the contrary, they're seeking to fill out their own ranks.

Departments throughout the state are facing problems on a couple of different fronts. First of all, they're having a tough time competing with the private sector when it comes to salaries. On top of that, many recruits simply don't meet the requirements it takes to be a police officer.

The recruitment difficulties of the San Joaquin Sheriff's Department are typical of the problems being experienced by many police forces. There are currently 15 openings for deputies. Seven hundred people applied. Of those, 500 showed up for the test, of which only 329 passed. Out of those, only 10 percent will pass polygraph, psychological, and drug tests. "Which will be only about 32 to 33 people out of that initial 700," said spokesman Joe Herrera.

Of those 32 or 33, many will turn down the job once it's offered them. "Why should they come here when they can go elsewhere and make more money" said Susan Rica of the Sheriff's Department Records Division. "When you're a new hiree, that's what you're looking for." Starting pay for a deputy in San Joaquin County is about $32,000 a year.

Getting qualified people through the process takes a lot. "All of the law enforcement agencies are vying for the same small pool of individuals so there is a lot of tugging and pulling right now going on for qualified individuals," Herrera says.

(This story was provided by News10 KXTV Sacramento.)

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