The Payette County Sheriff’s Office has worked with TVCC and CWI students over the last several years. These students are going through college to learn more about the law enforcement profession. Law Enforcement is a profession that contains a lot of hands on experience. As part of that we would like to help these students develop and learn how we work.
Mentorships through these schools are coordinated with the Division Administrator. We typically schedule time for the student to work an entire shift in one Division. Students do not have police powers and are not able to perform most tasks that we are required to do. A student typically shadows our Deputies, which gives them an opportunity to see the way that we handle numerous situations. It also gives them an opportunity to ask questions and get reliable answers.
We have hired numerous college students that have become connected to our Department through one of these schools. We have had several of our employees work with TVCC as instructors. These employees are Sheriff Chad Huff, Lt. Andy Creech, Lt. Brandon Stromberg, and Detective Jason Jones. These instructors have helped create bonds with our community and recruit new employees for our office.
It is not often that we need to call for help, but when we need it, we really do need it. We live in a small rural County and often citizens don’t realize that there are Deputies patrolling the streets of Payette County at all times of the day or night.
The Payette County Sheriff’s Office is a 24/7 operation. Our Dispatch Deputies are ready to take your emergency or non-emergency calls and dispatch help to you. Our Patrol Deputies are ready to respond to your residence or business as needed. When you wake up in the middle of the night to the neighbor’s dog, or a prowler it is ok to call into Dispatch and ask for a Deputy to come to your house. We have a Deputy on duty that we can send. The Jail Deputies are also working to maintain a secure and safe Jail.
The administrative offices for the Payette County Sheriff’s Office are open on Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. These offices are the Records Division, Civil Division, Administration, and Drivers License Division. All of our administrative offices are closed from noon to 1:00 pm. The Driver’s License Department is closed each day from 1:00 – 2:00 pm for lunch.
The Payette County Sheriff’s Office has operated a consolidated dispatch center since 1982. The consolidated dispatch center was formed when Payette City Police Department and the Payette County Sheriff’s Office joined efforts by combining their dispatch centers and combining their efforts.
The Payette County Dispatch Center dispatches for seven emergency response agencies within Payette County. They are also a backup dispatch center for Malheur County and Washington County Sheriff’s Offices. In 2019 the Payette County Dispatch Center received all 911 calls from July 3rd to 5th for the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office when they had unexpected outage in their 911 phone system. The Payette County Sheriff’s Office has worked with these other dispatch centers so that we are able to share resources and provide for not only Payette county, but also the region.
The Payette County Dispatch Center handles 61,000 non-911 phone calls and 11,000 emergency phone calls. Our dispatch center has seen an increase the number of phone calls and radio traffic as Payette County’s population has continued to grow.
Our Dispatch Center is a highly technical center with many pieces of modern technology. Our Dispatchers run 3 computers with 6 monitors at each Dispatch position. They use these systems to answer the many emergency and non-emergency phone calls, talk to emergency responders on the radio, answer text-to-911, track the locations of our emergency responders and dispatch emergency responders.
These systems track the location of callers and responders, which helps Dispatch give turn by turn directions to our responders to each emergency. They also have a multitude of resources available to them to help Patrol Deputies find property owners, cattle owners, vehicle owners, landlords and general citizens. They use a mass notification system to alert neighborhoods to police activity when we believe there is a specific threat to the public in that area.
In addition to the computer software that Dispatch uses, they also monitor 18 radio channels and take radio traffic from law enforcement, fire and EMS units.
As technology in our world continues to change, so will our dispatch center. We are planning for the future and make changes to be ready to accept new technology as it becomes available to help us continue to provide the services that our citizens expect from the Payette County Sheriff’s Office.
It is probably not a coincidence that my number one goal addresses not only the most important thing to the employees of the Payette County Sheriff’s Office, those who have the largest direct impact on our community, but also accounts for over 75% of the Sheriff’s budget. The single resource I am speaking of is our staff. Payette County has over 50 dedicated employees who are responsible for serving and keeping our community safe. Each position at the Payette County Sheriff’s Office is essential in the overall mission of our Office and the safety of our community.
We have 52 total positions and 3 current openings. Over the last few years, the Sheriff’s Office has experienced a high rate of turnover. Employees leave for a multitude of reasons, however the majority of employees leaving the Payette County Sheriff’s Office site compensation, benefits and job satisfaction as reasons for leaving. I prepared a research paper on employee retention and how it affects the Payette County Sheriff’s office. Below is the problem statement for the research paper.
In recent years the Payette County Sheriff’s Office has seen a tremendous amount of staff turnover in their patrol, dispatch, and jail divisions.
Between 2013 and 2016, the Patrol division had a 55% reduction of staff due to resignation. The Payette County Sheriff’s Office lost one deputy in 2013, two in 2015, and three in 2016 (Payette County Sheriff's Office, 2019).
During this time period, the Payette County Sheriff’s Office transferred staff from the Jail division to the Patrol division, decreasing certified jail staff by one-half. Since that time, the Payette County Sheriff’s Office has been continuously seeking applications and hiring Jail Deputies.
The Payette County Sheriff’s Office created a new position in Dispatch in Fiscal Year 2018. We have hired four new employees for that position. Three of the employees resigned prior to completing the field training program (Payette County Sheriff's Office, 2019).
The hiring process has impacted the Payette County Sheriff’s Office in four ways.
2. The quality of new employees has been impacted. The Payette County Sheriff’s Office observed that during this time most applicants do not meet the minimum requirements that are set by the State of Idaho (Idaho POST Academy, 2014) (State of Idaho, 2019).
3. In this time period, the number of applications submitted for each position has significantly decreased, indicating a lack of interest for employment with this office.
4. The Payette County Sheriff’s Office was understaffed by up to 20% throughout this three-year period putting strain on the current employees (Payette County Sheriff's Office, 2019).
The average annual cost for hiring, training and equipping new deputies is $190,000.
The Payette County Sheriff’s Office has been in a constant state of recruiting and training new employees. This constant process causes a shortage of personnel and a lack of experienced staff. This high turnover impacts our community.
The shortage of staff is most apparent in our Jail Division where Jail Deputies are routinely called in to cover shifts and medical transports. This causes the Jail Deputies to work additional hours, until the budget will allow us to fill the open positions. Most Jail Deputies are carrying over 500 hours of comp time and 322 hours of PTO. When Jail Deputies resign from the Sheriff’s Office, we typically pay them out for an additional 4 months’ worth of wages because of these balances.
I will find ways to address the turnover and resolve it so that the turnover is at a lower rate. I have researched the areas of compensation, benefits, and job satisfaction and will work with the Board of County Commissioners to identify ways to implement solutions. I have set the following goals:
Achieving my four goals will encourage longevity and employee satisfaction.
Which in turn, will help the Sheriff’ Office provide better service to the community by maintaining a full staff of employees who are equally well trained and experienced in their positions.
Please follow this blog every Monday over the next several weeks. This series will help voters understand the challenges we face, what has been done in the past, and what we can do in the future to address these challenges.
Schedule of Posts:
April 13th Employee Retention
April 20th Jail Population
April 27th Dispatch Operations
May 4th Patrol Division Call Load
May 11th Civic Engagement
May 18th Recap of the last six weeks
The Primary Election is May 19th, 2020, and Lt. Creech encourages all voters to vote by absentee ballot. https://idahovotes.gov/vote-early-idaho/
It is not often that most citizens need to call the Payette County Sheriff’s Office and when they do, sometimes they wonder how they should contact us. We have three ways to call us. During an emergency you can call 911, or during an emergency you could text 911. At all other times you should call our non-emergency phone number, (208) 642-6006 ext. 1175.
This seems really simple at its onset, but I know that people wonder if their situation is what we would classify as an emergency for the purpose of using 911. We often get calls on an administrative line that should have been on a 911 line. We also get some calls on the 911 lines that should have been on an administrative line. The 911 phone system is designed to help streamline the process of getting help dispatched to your location as quickly and efficiently as possible. With that in mind it should be used when an emergency is occurring. This could be when you, a relative or a stranger needs an ambulance. In medical emergencies minutes can be very crucial in saving someone’s life. It should also be used when you see a wildland fire, or field fire that appears to be out of control. When you witness a structure fire, 911 is the best way to call for help. There are numerous reasons to use 911 as it relates to law enforcement. The question to ask yourself is do you or someone else need immediate help, is it a life or death situation, or can this wait a few minutes longer before you talk to a Deputy. Common 911 calls for law enforcement includes fights, domestic violence, unwanted subjects, vehicle collisions, prowlers, etc. These are all situations where someone’s safety might be in immediate danger. For all other situations, call our non-emergency phone number.
The next thing to think about is should I call 911 or text 911 and which one is better. Calling 911 with a voice call is the absolute best way to contact the Payette County Sheriff’s Office during an emergency. We are able to get information from you at a much quicker pace. We have numerous questions that are specifically designed to help us efficiently gather enough information to get resources to you at the quickest time possible. In addition to asking you questions, we have the opportunity to listen to your environment. Dispatch can hear things that are going on in the environment and directly give that information to the responding units. During a text 911 we do not have the chance to hear what is going on. We have some questions pre-typed, but it will take longer to get information transmitted back and forth while we are both typing our responses to each other. The location data is not as accurate with a text 911, as opposed to a voice 911 call.
I know that some people may be asking why you would ever want to text 911 if it is so inefficient. We have some citizens who live in our community that have limitations in hearing and speech. By having this service available, we give those individuals the opportunity to still contact 911 with devices that they have and use on a daily basis. There are times that a person may be involved in an accident that can leave them with temporary or permanent hearing or voice loss. Text to 911 will be the best way for them to contact 911. The third situation where texting 911 would be the best option is in any situation where you are afraid that if you were to make a sound, your safety would be in danger. There are times when you might have an intruder in your house and you could be hiding somewhere trying to get help, but not wanting to make any sound. Turn the sound off on your phone and text 911. We will always ask if you can call 911 instead of texting. Please reply with no, it would not be safe for me to call.
When you call or text 911, be ready to give us the following information:
Your Full Name
Your Phone Number
The address where the emergency is
What the emergency is
What kind of services you need
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