HOLLY YAN, Staff Writer
Copyright 2006 THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS
For the first time in 24 years, the Dallas County Sheriff's Department will be recruiting deputies from the outside.
Since 1982, the department has recruited only detention officers or clerks who work inside the jail to deputy status.
But a desire to recruit applicants with different backgrounds and skills - as well as a high number of vacancies - has changed the recruitment rules.
"It is extremely competitive in North Texas, and the pool of qualified applicants is not as big as in years past," said Sgt. Don Peritz, a spokesman for the department.
The Sheriff's Department is looking to fill 36 vacant positions but may need many more deputies if it continues to assume more responsibility on Dallas County freeways.
Police departments handle traffic patrol and accident investigations on freeways in many Dallas County cities.
But the Sheriff's Department several years ago was made responsible for law enforcement on highways in parts of southern Dallas County.
Sgt. Peritz said he expects other parts of the county to be phased in. But "nobody knows exactly how many people you would need," he said.
Making deputies responsible for freeways alleviates the strain on city police departments and avoids confusion about which city investigates freeway accidents.
An applicant for deputy sheriff must be at least 21 years old, be a U.S. citizen, have a driver's license and Social Security card, and have completed at least 30 hours of college courses with at least a "C" average.
Applicants can waive the college requirement if they have at least two years' active military experience, paid law enforcement experience or Dallas County detention service experience.
May 15, 2006
Pool grows for Texas deputy recruits