News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

December 30, 2013

Vigo sheriff looking for 4 new deputies to fill vacancies

480 hours of training in store for new officers

TERRE HAUTE — Four merit deputy positions with the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department are now available through an application process.

Chief Deputy Clark Cottom told the Tribune-Star on Monday that the deadline to apply is Jan. 15, and it will be a four- to six-month hiring process to fill the positions.

Deputies begin their careers with a year of training and supervision before being assigned to road patrol duties. Other career paths within the department include criminal investigations, training and canine.

Prior law enforcement experience is not required, but is a benefit, Cottom said.

“Basically, we need good quality, hard-working individuals with a heart for law enforcement,” he said.

Applicants do not have to be residents of Indiana or Vigo County, but if hired, they must reside within a 25-minute response time to the Vigo County Jail.

The sheriff’s department offers a competitive starting salary at just less than $44,000, along with a uniform allowance, benefits package, health and life insurance, and pension plan. Merit deputies also receive take-home patrol vehicles.

Cottom said the application process is lengthy because of many stages of testing, including a physical fitness assessment, background check, psychological evaluation, polygraph evaluation, and interviews with the administrative staff and merit board.

Last year the department had about 80 applicants for its available positions, and those were narrowed down at each phase of the process. Cottom said he hopes that there are six to 10 solid candidates who make it through the process to the final stage this spring. Final candidates who are not hired will remain on a hiring list for one year in case vacancies occur.

The department has already reached out to area colleges with criminology departments or law enforcement curriculums, including Indiana State University, Vincennes University and others in Illinois and Indiana. A college degree is not required, he said, but it is helpful.

“We are often asked how people can get into law enforcement,” Cottom said, “and for those interested in law enforcement as a career, we encourage them to get involved in emergency medical or fire services, or work as a dispatcher or in a jail or state prison setting. That is not a guarantee that you will be hired, but it gives experience. Law enforcement is a 24/7 operation. There are a lot of overnight and evening shifts and holiday assignments.”

The sheriff’s department now has 38 merit deputies. Each new deputy will go through 480 hours of training at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. Each deputy must also have 24 hours of training each year in firearms, emergency vehicle operation, tactics and other emergency responses.

Applicants must be at least age 21, have no felony convictions and no domestic violence arrests.

Applications are available through the county website at vigocounty.in.gov. Click to Employment and scroll down to Job Opportunities. Information for applicants is listed online. Applications can also be requested by emailing sheriff.employment @vigocounty.in.gov.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.

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