HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has hundreds of deputy vacancies they need to fill.
Since the beginning of the year, ABC Action News learned, they hired more than 150 deputies. The sheriff’s office said they need to fill more than 300 positions. Most of those deputies will patrol the county streets and the rest of them will work at the detention center.
“We can’t control retirements (or) resignations so it’s high. It’s not as high as it has been,” Richard Lozada said.
Lozada is an HCSO recruitment manager. He said, overall, law enforcement agencies noticed a drop in applications the past two years.
“You have to have (the) passion for it and I think that at some point in time there was a little bit of a decrease in the interest in going into this career field,” Lozada said.
In order to attract more applicants, Lozada said they changed their hiring guidelines this year. For example, someone who is 19 can now work at the detention center. The agency has relaxed their tattoo police. They have also adjusted their drug policy. If an applicant used marijuana, they can apply for a job after two years, instead of waiting three years.
Lozada said they are getting more people interested in joining their force. They hope to find the best candidates.
“It’s definitely rewarding. You get to help so many people and I feel like that alone should be enough,” Ellana Oliver said.
Oliver is an HCSO cadet. She is 21. She aspires to fly the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s helicopter.
“If I can be what stands between someone and the worst day of their life, I… I want to do that,” Oliver said.
For more information about the open positions, go to joinhcso.com .