Pima County Sheriff's Office hiring two dozen corrections office - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Pima County Sheriff's Office hiring two dozen corrections officers

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -  Do you have what it takes to be a Corrections Officer?

If so, staff at the Pima County Sheriff's Office want to meet you.  The department is getting ready to hire about 25 corrections officers.

Public information officer Deputy Tracy Suitt said these are all new hires, to replace those who've moved on to other law enforcement careers or left the department.

"We always have a demand for corrections officers, " said Suitt.

On Friday there were 2,500 inmates inside the Pima County Adult Detention Facility.  The ratio of corrections officers to inmates was about 1:48.  It's the kind of job where short staffing can be a huge problem.

"We have to have the facility 100 percent manned the best we can due to the fact that these inmates are the responsibility of the sheriff's department.  We have to make sure they are safe," said Deputy Suitt.

We asked officials if we could take a trip inside the jail and talk to corrections officers about the challenges they face in this tough job.

"Behind bars" we met an anonymous corrections officer who had worked there for four years.

"When I first came in I thought it was a stepping stone, but you can make this a career choice," he said.

He said being a corrections officer required a lot of patience and good communication skills.

"A lot of people see it on the outside and think you're in there, violent criminals come in, a lot of people are scared.  They think you're going to be locked up in there with the criminals but if you communicate well with the inmates, they don't have a problem with you, and you're not going to run into any problems," he said.

Not everyone can handle the stress of the job.

"You are locked up in there for eight hours, it could possibly be longer than that.  I always tell people, when you leave that sally port you gotta be able to let it go.  You can't take the stress home with you.  You come in you turn it on.  You go home you turn it off.  You don't talk to them about your family, you don't discuss your personal life," he said.

Deputy Suitt had also started out as a corrections officer in the department.

"For me, initially it was a huge shock.  I never thought I'd be a corrections officer.  I was from the suburbs.  I didn't know anyone who had ever been in a prison," said Suitt."

He described his first impressions, and how he learned how to handle tough inmates.

"I remember my first time taking inmates to the visitation area.  All I kept thinking was it's me and these two guys with all these tattoos.  They can grab me or hurt me.  They don't care about that, they want to come in here, do their time, go to court, and go to prison or get out of here," said Suitt.

He added that many corrections officers did choose to go into other areas of law enforcement after getting some experience, and that the job helped them prepare for life on the streets.

"People who work here have a step up.  You're dealing with people who've committed all kinds of crimes, and people from all walks of life.  You'll deal with those same people out in the streets too," said Suitt.

On any given day, staff at the jail said corrections officers were handling everyone from the homeless, to the mentally ill, violent gang members, and even juveniles at times.

Those interested in applying should show up for a multiple choice test on Saturday August 23rd.  Telephone registration is required.  Call 520-351-4640 to schedule your appointment.  Phone lines are open Mon-Friday 8AM-5PM.  The deadline to register is 5 p.m. on Thursday, August 21.

The location where the testing takes place is the University of Arizona Medical Center-University campus.  1501 N. Campbell Avenue, DuVal Auditorium, Room 2600.   That is near Lee Street and Speedway Blvd.

Officials ask you to bring a Picture ID and two sharpened #2 pencils.

You can check out the attached flyer to find out more about the job, pay, and requirements. 

For more information, click here.

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