Do You Have What It Takes?

haugen Kastenmay2014Mason County Jail Administrator, Chief Deputy Tom Haugen and newly promoted Jail Lieutenant Cindy Kasten were on the KMAS Daybreak show, Friday morning to talk about the immediate need for corrections officers and the process to become one. Sheriff Casey Salisbury and Undersheriff Jim Barrett also sat in on the Daybreak show.

According to an earlier news story on KMAS, overtime for the jail is being stretched and is at 75% of the annual overtime budget, creating the urgent need for some new correction officers. Haugen said the Mason County jail has five full time openings, three male and two female.

KMAS broadcaster, Dale Hubbard asked what type of people Mason County looking for in an applicant. Kasten said, honesty, integrity, good physical health, ability to make quick decisions, a willingness to learn and able to deal with stressful situations. The only age requirement is 21 and over. There is a physical segment, but that will be held later, at the corrections academy. A complete listing of requirements is listed on the criminal justice training website.

Hubbard asked if there were any issues in someone’s past that might exclude them from being considered. Haugen answered; there are some, specifically a felony conviction. Haugen also said that if they find out an applicant, has in the past, been sent to collections or for example had a bad driving record, they will take a deep look at the history and determine eligibility on a case by case basis.

Jeff asked about the process – if he were to apply today?
Haugen said, if you apply today, you would take the next officer corrections test available in Burien. (Next test info)

  • If passed: your name would be put on a civil service list and the MC jail would take a look at the list and determine if an applicant would be a fit with the Mason County Jail.
  • If accepted: a background check would be started. Current officers would investigate such things as employment, driving and criminal histories; and talk to former/current employees, neighbors and friends. The investigating officers put together a complete packet on applicants before they are allowed to move forward.
  • If you pass the background check: you would be presented with a conditional offer of employment and be set up with a polygraph and psychological examination, and other interviews.
  • If pass: you would be presented with an offer of employment.
  • If accept: you would start working and being paid immediately. When there are openings, you would fulfill a month at the academy for criminal justice training in Burien. The process is about 4-6 months. Annual training will be required on all jail shifts.

To apply today: go online to the Public safety testing website or call at 866-447-3911.

Sheriff Salisbury said hiring for correction officers is done independently through public safety testing. A list of qualified applicants goes to the Civil Service Commission and that list is given to the Sheriff's Office. Dale stated that it looks like a candidate needs to be at the top of the list to be eligible, but Undersheriff Jim Barrett said that the top three candidates from the Civil Service test will be the ones looked at for eligibility. The county follows the process of the civil service rule of three, which states: The “rule of three,” requires managers to select from among the top three candidates available when hiring individuals from outside the Government.

Clarification on the retiring deputies from the Sheriff’s Office:
Earlier this week at a Mason County Commissioner meeting, Senator Sheldon said he was concerned about saving money and consolidating and reorganizing efforts has been the one thing that has kept Mason County's 'head above water ‘and helped Mason County through this recession. He acknowledged funding for the criminal justice system has been tough and he heard on KMAS that even the Sheriff's office has had to stretch resources due to deputies retiring. For the record: According to Undersheriff Jim Barrett, out of the seven deputies leaving the county, four left for better pay in surrounding counties. Mason County has the lowest paid deputies of the surrounding counties.

May 9, 2014/CG KMAS News

IMAGE/ Mason County Jail Administrator, Chief Deputy Tom Haugen and Jail Lieutenant Cindy Kasten