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Rockland Steps Up Recruiting for County Jail Staff

Filing deadline for civil service exam is Sept. 8.

The Rockland County Sheriff's Department is going shopping at the Palisades Center mall Tuesday. But Sheriff James F. Kralik isn't looking for a new iPod or a back-to-school outfit,  he's looking for future corrections officers.

The Sheriff's Department is expected to soon have job vacancies at the Rockland County Correctional Center in New City and members of the department are ramping up efforts to get qualified candidates to take the upcoming civil service test for the corrections officer position.

The job, which is often used as a career launching pad for Rocklanders interested in law enforcement, pays $45,653 annually with county-provided benefits and a 25-year retirement plan.

"It's a great jumping off point," said Sheriff's Police Division Captain William Barbera, a former Rockland corrections officer. "I learned so much during my years as corrections officer."

Barbera said many of the county's 160 corrections officers have had long careers at the jail and it is a job that offers many career opportunities. Barbera said his department is expecting to have openings for corrections officers because of changes in the retirement system, which allows corrections officers now to retire after 25 years of work. Previously, corrections officers were not eligible for retirement until age 62.

Additionally, Barbera said his department is expecting some corrections officers will take advantage of an early-retire incentive program being offered by the county.

Barbera said three Rockland corrections officers plan to run a recruitment table at Palisades Center in West Nyack from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in hopes of encouraging local residents to apply for the upcoming corrections officer test - a requirement for being hired. Rockland is offering the test on Oct. 16, and the deadline to apply for the test is Sept. 8.

The corrections officers will be on the first floor of the mall near the Cheesecake Factory restaurant.

"Our corrections officers will be able to tell people what the job is like and the opportunities that it offers," Barbera said. "People who might be interested can find out about the job directly from the people who are there."

Barbera said the Sheriff's Department's experience with recruiting corrections officers had found that many of the people who are qualified for the job don't know much about the job and its working conditions - scaring them off before they even apply for the test.

The Corrections Division of the Sheriff's Department operates the Rockland County Correctional Center, located adjacent to the Sheriff's Headquarters on New Hempstead Road in New City. Corrections officers oversee the jail and its inmates.

The facility houses about 240 people who have been sentenced to a year or less in custody for a crime or who are awaiting prosecution or sentencing on criminal charges. The jail also houses prisoners awaiting transfer to state prison after they have been sentenced.

Rockland has male and female corrections officers. The jail has a separate wing for female prisoners.

Barbera said the results of the upcoming civil service take will take about three months to process. Applicants for upcoming job openings would likely be considered for hiring in 2011.

Minimum Qualifications: By the day of the exam, you must have graduated from high school or have a high school equivalency diploma. And, have two years of either: Satisfactory full-time paid work experience; or, active military service; or, education beyond high school when enrolled in a minimum 15 credit hour semester, or, any equivalent combination of these options acquired at different periods of time.

Applications are available for pick-up at the Rockland County Department of Personnel, 18 New Hempstead Road, Fourth Floor, New City. Applications are also available at the Rockland County web site, www.co.rockland.ny.us by clicking on "County Offices," "Departments," "Personnel" and "Civil Service Exams."

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