Keeping It 100 with Sheriff Chad Chronister

"There is nothing more rewarding than helping somebody."

Episode Summary

Sheriff Chad Chronister and Deputy Michael Canepa sit down to talk about career opportunities at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. They cover everything from the job requirements to positions that are open right now. Join us to hear more about how you can join #teamHCSO.

Episode Transcription

Speaker 1:
Attention Hillsborough County, Unit 100 is now present.

Speaker 2:
I do solemnly swear or affirm that I will support, protect and defend-

Speaker 1:
I repeat, unit 100, your Sheriff Chad Chronister is now here.

Speaker 2:
... and I will well and faithfully perform the duties of deputy sheriff on which I am about to enter, so help me God.

Speaker 3:
And now, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office brings you Keeping it 100 with Sheriff Chad Chronister.

Amanda Granit:
Hello, I'm Amanda Granit and welcome to this episode of Keeping it 100. Of course, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister is joining me today to talk all about recruitment.

Sheriff Chad Chronister:
Hi, Amanda. It's such an important topic. Thank you. Thank you for bringing it up and getting it out to the Republic today.

Amanda Granit:
Joining us for today's episode is one of our favorite deputies from HCSO's recruitment and screening section, who ... I can never pronounce his last name correctly, so I'm just going to hand it over to you. Deputy, tell us your name.

Deputy Michael Canepa:
It's really easy. Deputy Michael Canepa.

Amanda Granit:
Yeah, well it sounds great when you say it, but somehow it just doesn't roll off my tongue, so we'll just keep it that way.

Deputy Michael Canepa:
It's all right. It's all right.

Amanda Granit:
Thank you so much for coming out here today.

Deputy Michael Canepa:
[crosstalk 00:01:11] pleasure.

Amanda Granit:
This is something ... Job security, employment is on a lot of people's minds these days.

Sheriff Chad Chronister:
During this pandemic, so many people have lost their employment. Even worse yet, sometimes their spouses, their partners have also lost their employment. We're putting a big recruitment push on because we're hiring. So many people think when they hear Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, "Oh, I don't want to be a cop. I don't want to be a detention deputy." It's like, there's so much more than that. From trades workers to clerical staff, we have over 1500 civilian positions. I mean, I think they're the backbone in supporting the sworn personnel and accomplishing any goal we have here at the office. I think it's just a great opportunity. Come work for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. It's a phenomenal career ... not just a job, a career

Amanda Granit:
HCSO is such a blessed agency when it comes to the fact that we have so many dedicated people committed to serving and protecting the citizens of Hillsborough County. What kind of positions are we currently looking for when it comes to HCSO?

Deputy Michael Canepa:
The interesting thing is, a lot of people assume deputies are the ones doing everything behind the scenes and on the front, and it's not the case. We almost just have as many deputies that we have civilian employees. A lot of people come up to me at job fairs and they're like, "I don't want to be a cop." I'm like, "Well hey, we've got mechanic, engineers, accountants, lawyers. We've got everything." I usually direct them, go to our website. Check out what interests you. There's just a plethora of opportunities there. I love just informing people of the good opportunities, because for such a big agency, it feels like a family and that's just a great thing.

Amanda Granit:
That's awesome. It really does feel like a family here. Sheriff, one of the things I've heard you mentioned before, when you talk about people joining team HCSO, is that you're really looking for people who are passionate about serving their community. Whether that is a sworn position or a civilian position, we want people who are passionate because we can bring them in and train them with the skills that they need.

Sheriff Chad Chronister:
100%. You need to have a passion for service. You have to have a passion for service to others, serving your community. We can teach you the job. That was one of the first things I did is, remove the education requirements for being a deputy sheriff. Do I think education is important? 100%, and we'll help even reimburse your college and your higher education. But, to be a deputy sheriff, to come to work for this office, you just need a passion for serving your community.

Amanda Granit:
One of the things, unfortunately, our community is going through right now, is the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of people have lost their jobs, but HCSO is a great place to start your career.

Deputy Michael Canepa:
Yeah, definitely. Everybody here has not been furloughed. We're all working. It doesn't matter if there's a pandemic or the economy crashes. It doesn't matter. We still have to serve the community, and that's a great thing, stability. That is one thing that we're blessed with, is having a stable job. And then, we've never closed our hiring doors. We were always still recruiting. I've got a lot of phone calls, people asking, "Did you close down for a little bit?" We're like, "No. We're still taking applications." Definitely a little bit of things changed a little bit because of social distancing, but we got around it and we're still processing people.

Sheriff Chad Chronister:
I agree. To go back and talk about security, there's nothing more important than job security, to know that it's a career, that you're a part of the Florida retirement system, that we have great benefits, medical benefits. Again, I think that's the difference between talking about getting a job somewhere and pursuing a career. Here at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, we offer careers for individuals.

Amanda Granit:
Awesome. Then, people can go to joinhcso.com to learn more about the process. We'll repeat that about a million times throughout all of this, so if you missed it there, don't worry. It'll be coming up again. But in the sense of the people who we're looking for, a lot of people have a misconception that working for a Sheriff's Office means they have to be young. They have to be right out of college or right out of the military. But you don't have to be 19, 20, 21 years old, to come here.

Deputy Michael Canepa:
No, no, you definitely don't. I'll use myself as one of them. I started here at 33 years old. I'll go to job fairs and I'll have people who are like, "I'm too old to join the Sheriff's Office." I'm like, "No, there was somebody in my Academy that was 49 years old."

Amanda Granit:
There you go.

Deputy Michael Canepa:
You can do it. It doesn't matter. As long as you meet the requirements and you have the drive to come work with the agency, we'll hire you.

Amanda Granit:
Let's jump into some of those requirements and kind of this hiring process. What should people ... There's a lot to it, so again, go to joinhcso.com for all of the details. But walk us through the Reader's Digest version of it, if you will.

Deputy Michael Canepa:
Right. The first thing, definitely going our website, applying. The first thing you'll be doing is creating a profile. You're just putting all your basic information. Then there's going to be a questionnaire. So, for whatever position you're interested in, it's just a questionnaire to see if you meet those minimum requirements. Then, depending on the job that you applied for, it would just lead into either, come in for testing or hey, you need to submit these required documents, and it'll continue. But all of our staff members will guide you through it. I know a lot of times it seems a little scary. There's a lot of stuff to do, but our staff is phenomenal and they're there to help you through each phase of the process.

Amanda Granit:
I really want to kind of zone in on some of the civilian roles we have here, and how this can really be a second career. We know that there are some people here at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office who have some interesting backstories ... some people who played professional baseball, who were professional chefs, who served in a number of different ways in the community.

Deputy Michael Canepa:
Everything. I've run into people that were teachers for 10 years, professional baseball players. I know a couple of them. But yeah, there's plenty of opportunity. Again, a lot of people think Sheriff's Office, be a deputy. That's the only opportunities. And that's not the case. Child Protection Services is one great opportunity there. A lot of people don't want to do the badge and gun thing, and I get that. It's not for everybody, but we have a lot of opportunities. Those people that are great with their hands, being one of our facility maintenance or our engineers. My brother-in-law loves cars. I mean, he's been thinking about transitioning to what he wants to do. He's thought of maybe being a mechanic for us.

Amanda Granit:
Someone has to fix all of the cars.

Deputy Michael Canepa:
Yeah, someone's got to ... We've got to roll around there.

Amanda Granit:
We have a whole it department that is in there working with computers and developing new software for the agency.

Deputy Michael Canepa:
Everything you think of it, we've got them. Just again, joinacso.com. You can go there. The jobs are constantly posted. It's changing every day, so please visit the website every day to see if there's some new postings and new opportunities to join the agency.

Amanda Granit:
Great. When it comes to the positions we're trying to fill for our sworn positions, our law enforcement, that involves detention and it also involves patrol. What does the hiring process look like for that? Because I think some people kind of get intimidated by the physical requirements that may be involved.

Deputy Michael Canepa:
It can be. I mean, there's a lot of steps. We are ensuring these people are going to be good applicants because we're going to give them a badge and a gun. So, that process gets a little more lengthy, but again, we're there to guide them through. Plenty of times when people are unsure, they're uncertain, just communicate to your recruiter. Let them know what's going on. We can give you extra time training for the fitness test. There's no set in law, you've got to do it in this ... Hey, if you need extra time to get ready, hey, we're here. We're not closing our doors. If it's not now, it can be later. Five years from now you can have an opportunity with the agency.

Amanda Granit:
Lastly Sheriff, I'll have you start off. What's your message for the community when it comes to joining team HCSO?

Sheriff Chad Chronister:
I don't think there's a better place to work. You talk about a team atmosphere, a friendly atmosphere. I assure anyone that's listening or watching this, there is nothing more rewarding than helping somebody. Here at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, we have numerous opportunities on a daily basis to help individuals, and there's nothing more rewarding.

Deputy Michael Canepa:
I would definitely say, come into this agency. I've been here five years and what it's done just for me career-wise, the fact that now I have a career, that I'm helping the community. But that apart, what the agency has done to give me time, it's taking care of my family. Like I said earlier, it feels like a family. We're 4,000 plus employees, but it feels like a family. I've created some great relationships, and I think those are going to last a lifetime. I can't give those up.

Amanda Granit:
Awesome. You should see his smile right now. I know this is a podcast, but his smile is ear to ear, and if that doesn't just say it all, I don't know what would. If anyone has any questions about our hiring process, about the recruitment process, again, please go to joinhcso.com. To catch up with us in between episodes, you can follow us on social media at HCSO Sheriff.

Speaker 3:
Thank you for listening to this edition of Keeping it 100. To keep up with Team HCSO in between each episode, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at HCSO Sheriff.