Ariz. sheriff's dept. looks at adding corrections officer shifts to deputy training

Sheriff Chris Nanos wants deputies to work as COs for six months before they start patrol – a move he hopes will help with staffing shortages

By Sarah Calams

TUCSON, Ariz. — A sheriff's department is combating its correctional officer shortage by having deputies work as correctional officers for six months as part of their training. 

The Pima County Sheriff's Department has hired about 120 deputies over the past year, but they're down over 100 correctional officers at its jail, reported.  

"It's a hard job. Not everybody wants that job. I had that job. Hardest job I've ever had," Sheriff Chris Nanos said. "Now say you want to be a deputy and we want you to be a deputy, but I think there's some value in you being a corrections officer."  

The value, he said, is that deputies learn the "gift of gab, ability to communicate, deescalate, and to look at situations and say, 'Let's slow this down.'" 

Nanos wants deputies to work as correctional officers for six months – something he says is already happening in other Arizona counties as well as some California and Texas counties.  

"They all require you to do two years in corrections before you get in a car and start patrolling the streets. So we're looking at that as a way to deal with [the shortage], because it's a hard job to recruit for," Nanos said. 

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