May 14, 2024 — The Canyon County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) hosted a luncheon yesterday with the Board of County Commissioners, CCSO Command Staff, and other personnel who have been recognized for outstanding performance to highlight the county’s efforts over the last 18 months to recruit and retain high-quality law enforcement personnel.

Sheriff Kieran Donahue and Chief Deputy Doug Hart opened the luncheon by referencing a recent report from the Bureau of Justice Assistance and Office of Community Oriented Policing Services that found  “…law enforcement agencies across the country face an historic crisis in recruiting and retaining qualified candidates.” The report also noted, “Law enforcement is at a crossroads as more officers are leaving the field through resignation or retirement and few qualified applicants are considering policing as a career.”

Empirical data from CCSO shows that in FY2021 and FY2022, CCSO had a turnover rate of 28.4% (not including retirements), with the top two reasons for employees leaving the agency being higher wages and more opportunities. The data showed that the high turnover rate and the overtime costs associated with low staffing numbers cost county taxpayers over $3 million over those two years.

Chief Deputy Hart then provided information to the group on the new CCSO wage scale, which took effect in January 2023. The data showed the new wage scale has had an incredibly positive impact on the CCSO’s recruitment and retention and has allowed CCSO to attract and keep very talented and capable candidates, reducing the turnover rate from 28.4% in FY2021 and FY2022 to just 2.6% in FY2024.

“I want to give credit to both the former and current Boards of County Commissioners, who recognized the dangerous trends facing our profession by taking action and implementing the new wage scale and putting a renewed focus on public safety,” said Sheriff Kieran Donahue. “In the last few years, CCSO had up to 11 vacancies in our patrol division. Today, that number is down to only one.”

Sheriff Donahue and Chief Deputy Hart also noted the extensive cooperation with the current board of county commissioners in the CCSO three-year Strategic Plan. These efforts included upgrades to law enforcement equipment for CCSO personnel and new patrol positions annually, which significantly increases the ability of CCSO deputies to serve the citizens of Canyon County.

The luncheon was sponsored by the Canyon County Sheriff’s Employee Appreciation Association.