The response has been strong to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department's recent call for new recruits. The department needs hundreds of new deputies, and hundreds have applied, but very few will make the cut. The application process involves a strict hiring system involving background tests and rigorous physical training. Tony Shin reports from Riverside for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on March 21, 2013.
The call for duty at the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has flooded the agency with applications after last week’s announcement that 500 deputy positions need to be filled.
But despite the interest, the department is continuing to search for new deputies.
"Ultimately, we hire about one out of every 100 persons who apply," Lt. Cheryl Evans said.
Most applicants don’t qualify because they fail the background checks or psychological exams. The physical training requirements also weed out many applicants who pass other tests.
But the department is in desperate need for deputies, especially on patrol.
"We had a hiring freeze for a number of years due to budget constraints but we never made up for the loss of deputies who decided the career wasn’t for them or they retired," Evans said.
There are alternatives to the deputy positions. The department also needs about 50 emergency dispatchers and office assistants.
For new recruit Cynthia Arellano, the dream is to be a correctional deputy.
"Growing up in the rough streets of LA, I decided I wanted to join and make a difference," Arellano said.
In April, Arellano will begin her training at the academy and expects to be the one out of a hundred who makes it through.
"This is all I want to do. I don’t want to do anything else but this," she said.
So far, the Riverside County board of supervisors has approved the money needed to hire an additional 50 new deputies for 2014. It could cost up to $6 million.
Evans hopes to have all the positions filled in three years. She said the department will have enough money in its budget to fund the rest of the deputy positions because of attrition.