Sheriff’s office using cinema screen as recruitment tool

Brandon Slate

A sponsorship agreement with YES Cinema will allow the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office to show a recruitment presentation prior to the start of each movie.

The Bartholomew County commissioners approved the agreement presented by Maj. Brandon Slate. The agreement goes into effect May 1 and runs through April 30, 2025. The department will also be featured with other sponsors during a slide show in the lobby, as well as receiving a mention in YES Cinema’s monthly newsletter, Slate said.

The one-year sponsorship agreement will provide YES Cinema with $3,600 that will be paid through the jail’s commissary funds, Slate said. These are essentially trust funds set up for each inmate consisting of deposits that allow inmates to buy items such as hygiene products and snacks. Profits can be used for a variety of purposes by the department.

The number of full-time merit deputies is currently at 44 — only three short of capacity, spokeswoman Bobbie Shake said. Raising the pay of a starting deputy to $70,000 did much to attract and retain new recruits, elected county officials said.

But when it comes to new hires, recruitment efforts are necessary due to the high standards of the department, Sheriff Chris Lane said.

During a recent appearance before the Bartholomew County Council, Lane told the council about an extensive recruiting drive that only resulted in 26 people to submit applications, he said.

On the day of the initial test, only 11 applicants showed up. Following the first interview and the physical agility test, only five candidates were left before two dropped out to accept jobs with other law enforcement agencies, he said.

One recent positive development is that there are 50 corrections officers on the payroll, which means the jail is fully-staffed, Shake said. At one point last year, there were 15 open positions at the jail.