Pennington County Jail
Newly hired correctional officers could receive a $4,000 signing bonus after the Pennington County Commission approved an incentive program on Tuesday.
Sheriff Kevin Thom, whose department oversees the county jail and juvenile facilities, said the bonuses would be distributed over 18 months — $1,000 upon hiring and another $1,000 each six months after that.
The money will come from the sheriff’s office’s budget.
According to information presented to county commissioners, there has been a 62% decrease in qualified applicants for these positions and 32% of those hired leave their jobs in the first 12 months. In the last hiring round, there were 12 open positions and five applicants were interviewed.
According to the employment website Indeed, the hiring bonus is already listed with correctional officer positions along with a salary that ranges from $22.80 to $25.17 an hour. Officers can work eight- to 12-hour shifts, need to be 20 or older, have a South Dakota driver’s license, a high school diploma or GED, and no felony convictions.
Thom said the department now employs 120 correctional officers.
Steph McCoy of Sheriff’s Office said 21 correctional officers were hired in 2020 for adult and juvenile facilities. Of that group, 13 remain employed, she said.