The Josephine County Sheriff's Office is looking for deputies, and it’s letting the world know through a flashy YouTube recruitment video.
The video opens with a message from Sheriff Dave Daniel. Then it launches into a country song and a montage of deputies kicking down doors, speeding down highways, and shooting guns from the hoods of their cars. There are a few shots of deputies rescuing a young dog and riding horses at a local rodeo, but it largely focuses on the tough-guy scenarios of law enforcement.
Daniel says he hopes the video attracts more recruits and improves his department’s image. His office invested $4,000 in the video and hired Grants Pass-based filmmakers to produce it.
“I think historically, there’s been a lack of trust in the sheriff's office,” he said. “And that's maybe justified because the services weren’t there. We didn’t have the ability just because of sheer numbers. Now we’re on the rebound and that was the point of the video.”
Just a few years ago, this vast, rural county had only two deputies on patrol. Then Josephine County voters passed a public safety levy in 2017, opening up funds to hire new recruits.
Now it can afford 20 deputies, but not enough qualified people are applying and too many current deputies are leaving.
Daniel says his office ran a report to see how it compared to similar sheriff’s departments, like Douglas and Jackson counties’.
“And in doing so, we found out we were pretty low on the scale for benefits and salary,” Daniel said. “And that's an effort we’re trying to increase right now so we could be more competitive.”
Daniel added that his county isn’t alone in struggling to find recruits. He says there’s a nationwide shortage because the job just isn’t as appealing as it used to be.
“There’s a dark side to law enforcement,” he said. “It takes the right person to deal with those instances that aren't so pleasant.”