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No Vacancies? Osceola County Finds Keys to Attract and Retain Officer Staff

NCJ Number
Denis Dowd
Date Published
6 pages
This paper provides advice on attracting and retaining jail personnel.
This paper presents advice for use by local corrections departments on attracting and retaining jail personnel. The information is based on the experiences of the Osceola County (Florida) Corrections Department. Beginning in 2005, the county took steps to address recruitment and retention issues related to corrections personnel. The paper presents four actions that the county used to locate new hires for the jail. These actions are: define what you are looking for - be realistic about the qualities that make a good or great employee; look where your best hires are - the best candidates for jobs in jails are often those who live in the community served by the jail; look within - recruit staff from non-officer positions within the department and develop a cadre of staff with the potential to become officers; and keep in touch - maintain contact with all qualified candidates even if a position does not currently exist. Two strategies the county used to improve hiring success were screening - setting strict but reasonable standards for new hires, and hire to their goals - hiring candidates whose goals are within the agency's capacity to meet them. The paper also presents suggestions for retaining staff. These efforts include clearly communicating expectations, balancing expectations and needs, attending to staff safety, being fair, and using exit interviews to share information with supervisors and managers.