Letter - Here’s how deputies are hired


From information provided in the Union-Bulletin and at the election forums there appears to be some misunderstanding about how deputy sheriffs are hired in Walla Walla County.

All counties except King County are required to use a county Civil Service Commission to evaluate applicants for all paid positions within the Sheriff’s Office, except for the statutorily allowed appointed positions.

In Walla Walla County, applicants for deputy sheriff and corrections deputy take a written and physical test administered by Public Safety Testing, a company that specializes in testing for public safety positions. The physical test is pass/fail and the written test is scored much in the same manner as a high school or college examination.

All other positions are directly tested locally by the Civil Service Commission.

The Civil Service Commission, for all positions, next administers an oral examination using a panel from the sheriff’s department and a member of the Civil Service Commission (usually the chief examiner). The written and oral test scores are combined, with greater weight given to the oral test score.

The three applicants with the highest combined scores are listed in alphabetical order and provided to the sheriff to select one new deputy sheriff.

The sheriff may select only from the list of three or decline to select anyone. (If there is more than one vacancy, the size of the list is expanded and more than one selection may be made from the expanded list.)

The three Civil Service commissioners are volunteers selected by the county commissioners. The chief examiner is a county employee selected by the Civil Service commissioners. This position is an unfunded state mandate. None of the Civil Service Commission personnel work in any capacity for the Sheriff’s Office.

The regular meetings of the Walla Walla County Civil Service Commission are held the second Thursday of each month at 3 p.m. in the training room adjacent to where the Walla Walla County commissioners meet in the Courthouse. The public is welcome.

Dan Aycock


Walla Walla County

Civil Service Commission


rapids72 5 months ago

It is helpful that someone with subject-matter expertise on evaluation and selection processes in the state and county, injected facts into the question of why and how civil servants are placed. Such concerns have come up in current political primary debates, public forums, and meet-and-greet sessions. We lift up those who quickly tell us what we want to hear (and generally ignore those who don't.) If I understood the chairman correctly, that "want" value doesn't always comply with the rules governing the issue at hand.

We sometimes casually inject our own opinions on how we think the taxpayers' business should be done if we were the ones making job placement decisions, but we're not those officials. We do that all the time, whether in a town hall or a pool hall, or poolside in our back yards. Those opinions of ours, however, must and do take a back seat to what is in the law and administrative regulations. What we might do as private employers selecting for vacancies doesn't always mesh with the restrictions on placing public servants.

Anything else that we might layer on that isn't provided for by code and statute might be dangerously close to or cross over the line into being arbitrary and/or capricious and likely would not stand the smell test when the shouting was finished and the dust cleared. Our personal expectations and requirements could become an open door to a suit for damages.

In the end, we can wish or want whatever factors or expectations for selection criteria for public service positions, but they don't necessarily stand up to the scrutiny that must occur. However, whether we think it should be that the candidate be of above-average height, be multi-lingual (perhaps a classic Florentine-dialect of Italian, anyone?), be left-handed, or maybe just that the selected civil service candidate should have big green eyes, we're not in the thankless position of being the official signing on the dotted line that all due diligence was done when selecting people for jobs.

Our job as voters is to challenge every candidate and expect them to be equipped with the faculties and resources to do the job they're asking us to choose them to do for us. We must be deliberate in being open enough to listen when they tell us their answer, even if it's not what we want to hear. And, we need to be smart enough to let them do their jobs within the processes they're obliged to execute, and not because they tell us a "PC" answer they think we want to hear.

I, for one, thank Mr. Aycock for reminding me that there is a process, giving it great clarity, and detailing how it works. That deliberate process, not hypothetical off-the-cuff replies, or our personal wish lists, like "Dear Santa" or "if I were King" ... is what fills our public service vacancies. A public official who would select by any other process simply would not deserve our votes and any voter who would tolerate such behavior does disservice to us all.


mythoughts 5 months ago

Exactly. If you saw or watched the camber of commerce debate it was clear that Sheriff John Turner is constantly ridiculed for following these guild lines while the other candidate stated he would higher whomever HE thought best.


downhillracer 5 months ago

Which underscores the importance of Mr. Turner retaining his position as a sheriff that not only knows how the process works - he follows it.


WOW 5 months ago

Really it seems like Turner does hire who he thinks best..They are all from California. Appointed positions. Why is that? Oh, that's right he thinks we are all to stupid here in Walla Walla county.


Dansworld 4 months, 4 weeks ago

So you understand, within the 5 appointed positions he is allowed by law, only one is from California, and that person replaced the previous California person.


mythoughts 4 months, 4 weeks ago


Please educate yourself. The topic was why there were not HISPANIC DEPUTIES. AGAIN you must hire from a list.

The Sheriff has a few APPOINTED positions that he can choose who is hired. If you can give names of more qualified in Walla Walla Let's hear them. Turner hires the best he can find for the citizens of Walla Walla. We are lucky to have them all.


WOW 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Is that why he fired Lora White and Bianca Cruz, the later was bilingual btw. I'm fairly certain you knew that already? Why was she let go along with Lora? Oh I remember now because they supported someone other than you, I mean Turner. As far as Deputies go if you tested in house you would probably get more applicants. It costs money to drive across the state, hotel, food, time off work, etc. Look at the hires pre Turner, are they not good deputies? Local testing! Just saying....


WOW 4 months, 4 weeks ago

@ mthoughts or Justsaying or whatever you are going by now. I have educated myself. I'm 99.9% certain that the WWPD (as well as other departments) had a bilingual list prior to going to PST (public safety training for those of you who don't know what that means)..Next question, please.


mythoughts 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Like the letter says The civil service commission handles who can be hired. If the three candidate names they send are not Hispanic there is nothing the Sheriff can do.

Quit trying to make it the Sheriff's fault and be pro-active. Ask your Hispanic friends to take the tests. I have.


WOW 4 months, 1 week ago

Maybe the Sheriff's position should be handled by the civil service too, or at least the Sheriff should have to go though the same process as the deputies. i.e. poly, psych, etc.


mythoughts 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Our Sheriff (John Turner) has gone through that process.


mythoughts 3 months, 3 weeks ago

In addition He has top secret clearance at the highest level of government. They don't just hand those out without the most though background check. He worked for homeland security and the department of defense.


Sign in to comment

Click here to sign in