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While Legislature debates, Renville County Sheriff's Office produces video to recruit law officers

Renville County staff produced a video aimed at recruiting for the Renville County Sheriff's Office. With a smaller pool of people interested in law enforcement, recruiting has taken on greater importance.

Portrait photo Renville County, Minnesota, Sheriff Scott Hable
Renville County Sheriff Scott Hable
Contributed

OLIVIA — The Minnesota Senate on Feb. 14 advanced a bill to spend $1 million on promoting careers in law enforcement. The legislation still needs approval in the House.

With a much smaller budget, the Renville County Sheriff’s Office produced its own video to recruit staff for the office, including sheriff’s deputies, dispatchers and correctional officers for the jail.

“I’m proud of it,” said Sheriff Scott Hable as he discussed the new video with the Renville County Board of Commissioners on Feb. 15. The commissioners viewed a screening of the approximate, 3 ½-minute video at their meeting.

It already had made its debut at two job fairs. The Sheriff’s Office played the video while participating in recent career fairs hosted by the Alexandria Technical & Community College and Southwest State Minnesota University. Both institutions offer degrees with career paths in law enforcement and criminal justice.

Sheriff Hable said he’s proud of the video because it was produced internally by county staff. “Staff put it together. (They) did a great job with that.”

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The sheriff said it was not a project that could be assigned. Staff members from the Sheriff’s Office and other county departments came forward on their own to produce it.

The video offers a look at jobs in the Sheriff’s Office, as well as snippets of life in the county. The video includes views of some of the summer celebrations hosted by communities in the county.

Time will tell how effective the video will prove, but Hable said it seems to have been well received. He credited it with helping interest six or seven potential job candidates.

There are plans to produce more videos. In the next, he said they are looking at letting job candidates know that the Sheriff’s Office puts an emphasis on providing work and family balance for employees.

Cattle Show at Renville County Fair
The Renville County Sheriff's Office recruitment video shows career opportunities in the office and includes snippets of life in the rural county. This is a West Central Tribune file photo of Sam Robinson, then 13, of Franklin, Minnesota, showing his steer during the cattle show at the Renville County Fair in Bird Island on opening day Aug. 17, 2011.
West Central Tribune file photo

The Sheriff’s Office is also looking to put together a curriculum and participate in career exploration opportunities at schools in the county. Sheriff Hable said the office wants to interest young people in considering law enforcement careers. Recruitment efforts need to focus on getting young people interested in law enforcement careers rather than finding people already in the profession, he said.
He said his office has discovered two constants when it comes to recruiting.

The first is that “(the people) we are recruiting to work in rural Minnesota are from rural Minnesota.” People who appreciate the rural lifestyle and culture are the most likely to accept a position with a rural department, according to the sheriff.

The other constant when it comes to recruiting is the decline in the number of prospective candidates for law enforcement. Because of all that is happening now in the state, “there are just less people interested,” he said.

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoors reporter for the West Central Tribune.
He has been a reporter with the West Central Tribune since 1993.

Cherveny can be reached via email at tcherveny@wctrib.com or by phone at 320-214-4335.
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