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Kern County Sheriff's Office offering $25,000 hiring bonus

Bonus is only for lateral transfers, not new hires
Kern County Sheriff's Office Patrol Car (FILE)
Posted at 4:21 PM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-30 20:15:17-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The recruitment and retention of law enforcement officers in Kern County are at an all-time low. To help with that issue, the Kern County Board of Supervisors approved extending hiring bonuses for deputy sheriffs to help the Kern County Sheriff's Office to fill hundreds of vacancies and strengthen its recruitment efforts.

The board agreed to extend the $25,000 hiring bonus for another three years, and will also include a one-time $5,000 relocation stipend to cover the expenses of relocating to Kern County.

When 23ABC spoke to the KCSO about its vacancies in February the department took its recruitment efforts to social media, focusing on hiring as many transfers as they can due to vaccine mandates while highlighting the benefits of living in Kern County. At that time - the sheriff’s office had more than 300 vacancies department-wide.

Now Sheriff Donny Youngblood says the department is still trying to fill those vacancies but believes they’ve made an impact on those looking to relocate to Kern County.

“We have to incentivize people to come to work,” said Youngblood. “There’s 141 deputy sheriff vacancies.”

Last month, the department took its recruitment efforts to social media. And both Kern County’s chief communications officer, Ally Soper, and Sheriff Youngblood say it’s made an impact.

“We have seen a lot of interest from lateral transfers not just in Los Angeles County but as far north as Sacramento in that area and throughout the country,” said Soper.

“I think as of right now we have 10 people who have applied. I don’t know if they are going to go through the process. We hope they do but that was 10 more applicants than we were getting before,” added Sheriff Youngblood.

But it's only a dent in the overall number of vacancies.

“We encourage anyone who wants to be a deputy sheriff, a detention deputy sheriff, a civilian, we have jobs. We have over 100 deputy sheriff jobs. We have over 100 detention deputy jobs and we have over 100 civilian jobs,” added Sheriff Youngblood.

Youngblood says the $25,000 hiring bonus is only for lateral transfers, not new hires, and will be received over a 5-year period while the relocation stipend applies only for those relocating more than 50 miles. The bonus agreement is now set to expire on June 25, 2025.

Soper says she hopes adding to the recruitment package will attract more officers to want to move to Kern County.

“Here in the county we really recognize the importance of our law enforcement officers at KCSO. We see that as a priority here, maintaining public safety as a county. That is one of our goals to make sure we get the sheriff’s office fully staffed and that residents feel safe.”

Youngblood says there are plenty of jobs available as the department expects to lose even more officers between now and July 1st due to some retiring and others leaving for another agency.

If you’re interested in working for KCSO, applications are available online.