A Few Good Men Wanted

While many businesses are downsizing or looking at possible layoffs, the Harris County Sheriff's Department is one agency that is aggressively looking to bring in more people. As Bill Stamps reports there's a shortage of people to work at the county jail.
Sixty four is around the age most people are thinking about retiring. But Houston's Jesse Green is simply making a career change. He used to sell coffee. Now he's detention officer with the sheriff's department. Not only is he working with people half his age, he scored the highest on his academy exit exam. How did he do it?

"They told us to study and I actually did."

Newly elected Sheriff Adrian Garcia is in the process of getting his old deputies out of the jail and into the streets to serve the public. That leaves a lot of wholes to fill with people who will work at the jail only. Capt.Deborah Schmidt is director of the Sheriff's Department Academy.

"The way it works is they'll come out and take a couple preliminary tests and if they pass that we do some screening, they're given an application packet that they take home and fill out."


Detention officers don't carry guns, but they do need to learn how to protect themselves as well as the inmates. Green says the academy does a great job of preparing you for working at the jail.

"You'll be physically challenged and you'll be mentally challenged. You'd be surprised at what you can do. You will definitely get through the jail school, but you have to give 100 percent. That's what they're asking. If you give 100 percent of what you've got, more than likely you will qualify under the standards that."


And for those who think this may be what they're looking for, Capt Schmidt says...

"...They can give our recruiting and background division. Call or come out and visit us here at the academy and we can give them a better idea of what it's about and if they think they're interested, they should absolutely apply. It's a great job."


You can find an application on the Harris County Sheriff website.

Bill Stamps KUHF Houston Public Radio News.