HIRING AND EMPLOYMENT POLICIES AND REQUIREMENTS
BAXTER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
Procedures, Requirements, and Criteria concerning Sheriff’s Office job positions, and the Application, Interview, and Hiring Process.
GENERAL: The staffing level, number of full time employees, and the salary levels of the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office employees is determined by Ordinance of the governing body (Quorum Court). Each elected county official, including the Sheriff, has responsibility for hiring all personnel to fill authorized positions within his or her elected office. (Arkansas Code 14-14-1102, County Policy Manual Section 15B, page 18). Each elected official of the County is to fully and completely administer the day to day affairs of his or her office of County government on behalf of the County, in a manner that is in accord with applicable laws (statutes or judicial ruling), the constitutions (U.S. and Arkansas), and this general County Policy. (County Policy Manual Section 2G, page 2)
TERM OF EMPLOYMENT: All County Employees are “At Will” employees. “At Will” employment is not for a specific period of time and employment may be terminated at any time, without notice or liability of any kind (except for wages earned and unpaid) and with or without cause. Unless rehired by a newly elected supervising County official, employment shall cease at the conclusion of the county’s biennium (December 31st of even-numbered years). It is the County’s policy to provide equal opportunity for all qualified persons; to prohibit unlawful discrimination in employment practices, compensation practices, personnel procedures, and administration of benefit plans; and to otherwise provide the same or similar treatment and opportunities to all persons similarly situated. (County Policy Manual Sections 3A and 3B, page 3).
Applications for employment will be accepted from any person who wishes to apply upon approved forms provided by Baxter County. Applicants who are residents of the County will be given consideration over non-residents, all other qualifications being equal. (County Policy Manual Section 15D, page 19).
SHERIFF’S OFFICE POSITIONS: The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office employees both sworn personnel with general or restricted arrest powers and civilian, non-sworn personnel, with no arrest powers. Specific and detailed job descriptions have been created for each position within the Sheriff’s Office. Different positions will have different criteria applicants must meet, or be eligible to meet, before they can be considered for the position. Job Titles/Ranks/Classifications within the Sheriff's Office are: Elected Sheriff (1), Chief Deputy/Captain (1), Lieutenant (4), Sergeant (7), Corporal (8), Deputy I and II (10), Investigator I and II (3), Jailers (12), Office Manager (1), and Secretary (4). There are also Part Time Deputy, Part Time Jailer, and Reserve/Auxiliary Deputy positions.
APPLICATION PROCESS: Whenever a full time job opening exists within the county, the position will be posted for five (5) days to ensure that existing County employees have sufficient time to learn of and request a transfer to the open position. (County Policy Manual Section 22B, page 23). Although not required by policy, job openings will also generally be posted on the Sheriff's Office website. Applications for employment for any position will be continuously accepted throughout the year, however applications will only be reviewed for potential suitable candidates whenever a position is actually vacant and open. Applications will normally remain on file for a period of six (6) months and may be reviewed and considered whenever there is a job opening within the Sheriff’s Office. All applications for employment must be submitted on approved forms provided by the Sheriff’s Office. Resumes submitted without the required application form will not be considered and will be discarded. Applications that are received, along with any attachments or supporting documentation, become the property of the Office of Sheriff and will not be returned. They are routinely disposed of by shredding after being on file for six (6) months. The Sheriff’s Office generally receives a large number of applications for any open position, which makes for a very competitive process among the applicants.
INTERVIEW PROCESS: When a position becomes open, the Chief Deputy will gather, review, and correlate all applications for the position and select a date to conduct interviews of selected applicants. An Interview Board comprising a minimum of four (4) Sheriff’s Office supervisors will convene to conduct initial interviews with all applicants selected for the interview process. The initial interview will be conducted in a formal manner. The mission of the Interview Board is to narrow the field of applicants to two (2) finalists for the position for potential submission to the Sheriff. The Interview Board will then initiate a full and complete background investigation check on those two finalists, which will include verifying criminal background, past employment, education, and checking with personal references. Assuming the background check is acceptable, the names of those two finalists will be submitted to the Sheriff for his personal consideration.
INTERVIEW WITH SHERIFF: The Sheriff will generally conduct a personal interview with each finalist for the position, after which he will make a decision as to which applicant to hire for the open position. In the alternative, the Sheriff may choose to reject both finalists and ask that new interviews be conducted.
OFFER OF EMPLOYMENT: Any offer of employment made by the Sheriff will be contingent upon the applicant being able to successfully complete and pass a physical examination, employment drug-screen urinalysis, and psychological testing (if required), in addition to being able to meet all other requirements for the position which is being offered. The applicant may be allowed to begin work before all of these procedures have been completed (which can take some time), however any applicant who begins employment and subsequently cannot meet these requirements will be discharged.
SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS – SWORN DEPUTY SHERIFF:
(Arkansas Minimum Standards) Every officer employed by a law enforcement unit shall:
- Be a citizen of the United States (proof required).
- Be at least 21 years of age (proof required).
- Be fingerprinted and a search initiated of state and national fingerprint files to disclose any criminal record.
- Be free of felony record. A felony record shall mean having entered a plea of guilty, been found guilty, or otherwise having been convicted of an offense, the punishment for which could have been imprisonment in a federal penitentiary or a state penitentiary. The fact that an individual has received a pardon, or their record has been expunged, sealed, sentence suspended, or judgment otherwise held in abeyance shall not release the individual from having a felony record for the purposes of this regulation.
- Be of good character as determined by a thorough background investigation.
- Be a high school graduate or have passed the General Education Development (GED) Test indicating high school graduation level (proof required).
- Be examined by a licensed physician and meet prescribed physical requirements.
- Be interviewed personally prior to employment by the department head or his representative, or representatives, to determine such things as the applicant’s motivation, appearance, demeanor, attitude, and ability to communicate.
- Be examined by an individual licensed to practice psychiatry or psychology and qualified to perform such evaluations in the State of Arkansas, who after the examination finds the officer to be competent and recommends the agency to hire the individual.
- Possess a valid driver license (Arkansas license required by Sheriff’s Office).
Sheriff’s Office Additional Requirements:
Applicants will not be considered for Sheriff’s Office employment who:
- Have plead guilty, nolo contendere, or been found or adjudicated guilty of any Domestic Battery offense involving physical injury to another person in Arkansas or any other jurisdiction.
- Is the respondent in an Ex Parte or Permanent Order of Protection remaining in effect in Arkansas or any other jurisdiction.
**Other convictions for a minor misdemeanor offense will not necessarily disqualify the applicant, however the Interview Board and Sheriff will look closely at the circumstances surrounding any criminal arrests or convictions.
These requirements apply to all sworn full time, part time, and reserve deputy positions.
SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS – NON-SWORN EMPLOYEES:
Non-Sworn civilian employees, including Secretarial, Clerical, Administrative personnel and sworn employees with restricted arrest powers (such as Jailers) must normally meet all of the same requirements as sworn employees, with the following exceptions:
- Non-sworn civilian employees and sworn employees with restricted powers must only be eighteen (18) years of age rather than twenty-one (21) years of age. (County Policy Manual, Section 15G, page 19).
- Non-sworn civilian employees are not required to submit to psychological evaluation, while sworn employees with restricted powers (Jailers limited primarily to serving warrants in the Detention Center) are required to submit to psychological evaluation.
WAGES, COMPENSATION, AND BENEFITS: The governing body (Quorum Court) establishes by Ordinance the wages, compensation, and benefits received by all County employees. These include:
- Wages: The County has established a step and grade system to determine the amount of salary or wages paid to each employee, depending on the position held and job description for that position. There is a base starting pay for each grade, with the elected County official being given the option of hiring a new employee at up to 27% above base pay for the position using a formula provided to give credit for education and prior experience in the same field. New employees given no credit for education or prior experience will begin at the starting base pay level for the position. After an initial probationary period of ninety (90) days in the position, the elected official may give the employee an increase in wages by moving the employee up one step in the pay grade for the position. Employees are paid on a bi-weekly basis (26 pay periods per calendar year). In addition to regular salary and wages, overtime pay or compensatory time off for working beyond the normal work week, will be awarded if the employee is required by supervisory staff to work hours in excess of the normal work week for the position. Details vary by position and applicable federal and state law.
- Fringe Benefits: Eligibility for vacation leave or other employee benefits does not create any property right in employment or any expectancy of continued employment. (County Policy Manual, Section 33B, page 28).
- Retirement: Baxter County shall provide a retirement plan for each full time County employee. An employee is eligible to receive service credit if he or she was hired with the intent of working more than ninety (90) consecutive calendar days and the equivalent of ten (10) eight (8) hour days per month (80) hours) and is not eligible for participation in another state authorized retirement plan. (County Policy Manual, Section 33, B1, page 29). Baxter County currently participates in the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System (APERS), which is administered by the State.
- Medical Insurance: Baxter County currently provides medical insurance for the employee, the entire cost of which is currently paid by the County. Coverage for the families of individual employees may be provided, if desired by the employee, and shall be at the expense of the employee. (County Policy Manual, Section 33 B2, page 29).
- Vacation: County full time employees shall be eligible for paid vacations after one (1) year of continuous service, but temporary and part-time employees shall not be eligible. The amount of paid vacation time awarded depends upon the length of service of the employee and ranges from one (1) week to four (4) weeks per year under County policy.
- Sick Leave: All regular full-time employees of the County are eligible for sick leave with pay with a maximum benefit of twelve (12) working days per year. This earned sick leave can be carried from year to year with a maximum of ninety (90) days accumulation. (County Policy Manual, Section 33, B4, page 31).
- Other Leave: Under County policy, additional leave (paid or unpaid depending on the type of leave) may be granted for various reasons and under various circumstances and conditions, such as Military Leave, Maternity Leave, Emergency Leave, Occupational Injury Leave, Accidental Injury Leave, and Jury Duty.
- Holidays: Baxter County employees (full time) will receive time off with pay for the following Holidays. If the employee is required by the position to work on the holiday, then additional holiday pay will be provided to the employee: 1) New Years Day; 2) Presidents Day; 3) Memorial Day; 4) Independence Day; 5) Labor Day; 6) Veterans’ Day; 7) Thanksgiving Day and the Friday following; 8) Christmas Eve; 9) Christmas Day; 10) Employee’s Birthday; 11) Personal Day. (County Policy Manual, Section 33, B11, page 34).
**With regard to the vacation, sickness, and other fringe benefits outlined herein, it must be understood that these benefits are not required by law nor are they guaranteed by the County. No contract is entered into by the County with any employee, nor does the County incur any debt or obligation.
**It should also be noted that all employees of the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office will be required to work together as a team to accomplish the goals and objectives and fulfill the Mission Statement of the Sheriff. Irrespective of designated Job Titles or Job Descriptions, each Sheriff’s Office employee will be expected to perform any tasks, duties, or assignments, which he or she is qualified for and capable of performing, that are directed by his or her supervisor, even though such duty or assignment may not fall within the specifications of a Job Description or be a part of the normal duties and responsibilities of the position held.
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