By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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The part-time corrections deputies will enable an experienced full-time deputy to move upstairs when courts are in session to augment the work of courtroom-courthouse security Deputy Gary Gorss.
Sheriff Bill Benedict requested funding for the part-time positions in a Nov. 1 budget meeting with county commissioners and budget administrators.
The positions were included in the 2013 budget that commissioners adopted Tuesday.
Jail Superintendent Ron Sukert said the new deputies will be chosen from a list provided by the National Testing Network for public safety employees.
As of Thursday, the list was empty.
“It's been slim pickings for the last couple of years,” Sukert said.
The county continuously tests for corrections deputies regardless of job openings.
“There aren't a lot of positions available at the county, so when they do come up, typically speaking, we've not always had an issue of a lack of applicants,” Sukert said.
“You'd hope with the economy and what you hear about it, it would create a greater applicant pool. We haven't seen that.”
The starting wage for the part-time corrections deputies is $20.50 per hour plus full benefits at a maximum of 80 hours per month, Sukert said.
They will work in the jail serving meals and doing inmate welfare checks and bookings, including pat-downs, property collection, fingerprinting and computer data entry.
“These are really good jobs,” Benedict said. “They pay well. There's obviously a lot of screening that goes along with it.”
Applicants must travel to one of several testing centers in the region to complete a physical agility test and written examination.
Interested candidates are encouraged to apply at www.nationaltestingnetwork.com.
Security became a hot topic at the courthouse after a Grays Harbor deputy was attacked at the courthouse in Montesano last March.
The deputy, Polly Davin, was shot with her own handgun during a scuffle with suspect Steven Kravetz. Her injuries were not life-threatening.
“We don't want to wait until something like that occurs here,” Sukert said.
Grays Harbor incident
In response to the Grays Harbor incident, Clallam County law and justice officials formed a security committee to look for ways to improve security at the courthouse in Port Angeles.
Recommendations ranged from part-time deputies to an airport-like metal detector at a single point of entry for the entire structure at 223 E. Fourth St.
Once the half-time corrections staffers are in place, an armed deputy will be available to assist Gorss, who provides security for the entire courthouse and its various courtrooms.
Often, multiple courts are in session at once.
The corrections section of the Clallam County Sheriff's Office has 40 full-time staffers and three part-timers, Sukert said.
He added that there is always a need for female corrections deputies.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at email@example.com.