Ever wondered what it’s like to work in a jail? Hear from Cpl. Justin Livermore, who joined the Bannock County Sheriff’s Office in June 2014 as a detention deputy.
Q: What is the training process like?
A: Training for the detention center is very thorough. It’s going to be more intense than most jobs because of the nature of being a detention deputy. Of course, you have to receive your POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) certification, either before you get hired or within a year after you’re hired. But all of the new detention deputies go through a more specialized training process, as well.
After you get hired, you go through a couple of weeks of observing how the jail operates. Then after your observation phase, which is usually two weeks, you have four more two-week training phases. During these phases, you slowly start to do more and more tasks on your own, with the assistance of your field training officer. You’ll have guidance from your supervisors during the entire training process.
There are two additional 8-week pieces of training, one in the field and one for booking. Uniform deputies have to complete both, and booking deputies just have to complete the booking training. We also do annual and regular training to keep everyone sharp and updated on any policy changes.
Q: What is the best thing about this job?
A: One of the best things about this job is what it offers. You can get really great benefits working for the Sheriff’s Office: amazing health care, PERSI retirement, and a lot of time off. I work three 12-hour shifts one week and four 12-hour shifts the following week. So, I basically get half the year off, which is really great if you have a family or want to go back to school.
Q: Where do you see yourself going in your current role?
A: Honestly, I would like to just keep moving up within the detention center. That wasn’t my original goal. When I started, I thought I’d move on to patrol or find out I was not really interested in law enforcement. But after I was here, I realized it provides everything I need. I enjoy a lot about this job, and I can see myself staying here for the remainder of my career. If you’re motivated and a good worker, there are lots of opportunities to advance in this career.
Q: What made you want to join the Sheriff’s Office and the detention center?
A: After the recession hit in 2009, I got laid off, which was really scary. I worked another job for a few years, but it didn’t offer health insurance. Then, my wife and I had our first kid in 2014, and we needed coverage. So, I was searching for something that had good retirement, good health care, and was recession-proof. This turned out to be a great fit.
Q: What is the most challenging thing about this job?
A: One of my biggest stressors is anticipating and trying to resolve an incident before it starts. Sometimes, when people come in here, they’re in a crisis. And sometimes, people respond to a crisis by being violent, either towards the deputies, other inmates, or themselves. Not knowing what’s going to happen each shift can cause some anxiety.
And sometimes, people who come into the jail are just mad about their situation. And since we’re the ones in front of them, we’re the ones they take it out on. You have to have thick skin and not take things personally in this job.
Q: What would you want someone considering joining the detention staff to know about the job?
A: You’re never going to get rich doing this job. But your needs will be met, and you’ll work for people who want to see you succeed. We protect the community and people’s constitutional rights, and we take pride in that. It’s an honorable profession, and there’s a lot more to it than people realize.
The Bannock County Sheriff’s Office is currently recruiting for positions in the detention center. Please apply at bannockcounty.us/sheriff.