SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Nearly four months since the new jail’s opening, the Greene County Sheriff’s Office (GSCO) is looking to hire 60 more detention officers.

“Before we actually moved to this facility, we needed at least around 100 [officers],” Deputy Paige Rippee said. “We were kind of around the 90 [officers] area and then we would fill several of those. But then of course, we have a little bit of attrition going on and that’s normal for any type of employer.”

Rippee said every Thursday for the last six to nine months, GSCO has held open testing events for detention officers.

“In the summertime, we may get more applications and then in the winter time not as many,” Rippee said.

Although GSCO has hired several detention officers, they’re struggling with the amount of people leaving for other opportunities, or simply not wanting to be a detention officer.

“Some people don’t really know what they’re getting into whenever they apply for this position,” Rippee said. “It’s not like TV. A lot of people think that it’s like 60 days or one of those, s seen on TV things. It’s not like that.”

There are several requirements people have to meet before becoming a detention officer. Below is a list of some requirements:

  • At least 18-years-old
  • Valid Drivers License
  • GED or Highschool Diploma
  • No felonies
  • No drug use

The hiring process can normally take anywhere from six to eight weeks. GSCO is working on shortening that process to four weeks to get officers on board quicker.

“There’s a lot of behind the scene things that our officers are are doing,” Rippee said. “Our deputies that work in the professional standards division are working plenty hard every single day, just keeping people on the ball.”

To keep people, GSCO implemented different supervision styles to ease the workload for officers.

“Clearly, we work in a somewhat stressful environment,” Rippee said. “I mean, you’re dealing with people that are criminals and they’ve got charges pending and they’re going to court back and forth. So tension can be high there.”

At the old jail, detention officers operated under a direct supervision. Rippee said officers were in close contact with 120 to 140 inmates. Now, officers operate under modified supervision.

“The pod size is exactly the same. But they only hold 56 inmates in each unit, so less inmates, but same amount of space,” Rippee said. “You’re not technically in the pod all the times, but you still have to go in and monitor and make sure that everyone safe and secure.”

On Thursday, GSCO will hold another open testing for anyone interested in becoming a detention officer from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.