Detention Officer

Polk County Human Resources   Des Moines, IA   Full-time     Law Enforcement / Security
Posted on March 20, 2024
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Salary               $62,400.00 - $80,595.00 Annually
Location           Des Moines, IA
Job Type           Full-Time Regular
Job Number     24-1044
Department      Sheriff's Office
Opening Date   11/07/2023
FLSA                  Non-Exempt
Location            Jail

Under general supervision ensures the protection, welfare, safety, custody and control of inmates incarcerated in the Polk County Jail.


Illustrative Examples of Work

  1. Maintains control and internal security of the Polk County Jail through active and continuous interaction with the inmates in the housing units, and through visual monitoring from the restricted access control rooms.
  2. Provides for the inmates basic needs, physical safety, well-being, sanitary conditions, and ensures that pre-trial rights are adhered to.
  3. Effectively applies positive or negative reinforcement for inmates who violate the Polk County Jail inmate rules and regulations.
  4. Responds in a calm, confident and organized manner to emergency situations arising from fire, egress alarms, duress alarms, altercations, or medical emergencies.
  5. Identifies serious or life threatening medical conditions, makes the appropriate notifications, and administers basic first aid and/or life-saving aid.
  6. Selects, completes, internally disseminates, and maintains records for a variety of Polk County Jail manual and computer generated reports.
  7. Performs a variety of duties such as housing unit officer, control room, exercise, visitation, intake and discharge, classification, jail review, disciplinary hearing officer, fingerprinting, or any other related duties as may be required.
  8. Performs searches of inmates and inmate areas on a regular basis and on unannounced irregular intervals.


Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Knowledge and ability to use proper grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure in hand written and computer generated Polk County Jail reports.
  • Ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing.
  • Ability to accurately document incidents containing clear, concise and complete information in chronological order.
  • Ability to remain calm, contain, and control inmates during stressful situations.
  • Ability to quickly recognize behavior problems or security issues and take immediate action to intervene.
  • Ability to firmly and fairly enforce rules and regulations.
  • Ability to follow standard operating procedures.
  • Ability to analyze data and reach logical conclusions.
  • Ability to meet the physical and psychological standards set forth by the County Sheriff and Jail Administration.
  • Ability to successfully complete training requirements as defined by the Sheriff’s Office general orders, the Iowa Administrative Code.
  • Ability to utilize the jail computer system to enter data and produce reports.
  • Ability to participate in physical restraint of hostile, aggressive, combative prisoners.
  • Ability to successfully complete a CPR course.
  • Ability to frequently walk up/down stairs, crouch, kneel, stoop, bend, reach and crawl.
  • Ability to occasionally lift 75 lbs. floor to waist, occasionally lift 15 lbs. floor to shoulder, and occasionally carry 75 lbs. occasionally push/pull 75 lbs. 
  • Ability to complete the physical testing component of the hiring process which includes a quarter mile sprint, 50 foot dummy drag (150 lbs.) and lifting a hanging dummy that weighs 165 lbs. and hold for 15 seconds.
  • Ability to work evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays as required.


Training and Experience

  • Graduation from high school or equivalent.
  • Must be 18 years of age.
  • Must be of good moral character.
  • Must not have been convicted of a serious crime.
  • Must be able to meet any additional criteria established by state and federal law which would allow the applicant to be certified to the IOWA (Iowa On-Line Warrants and Articles) system and the NCIC (National Crime Information Center) system. 
  • A criminal background check is required.
  • A polygraph exam will be administered prior to pre-employment offer.
  • Candidate must pass a post-employment offer physical examination and physical capacity testing to ensure candidate meets the essential physical requirements of the position.
  • CPR/AED and First Aid training is required within six months of hire. 
  • A drug screen is required prior to final offer of employment.
  • A valid State of Iowa driver’s license is required.
Annual Entry Salary for Detention Officers with prior experience (Effective July 1, 2023):
  1. 1 year of detention/corrections/law enforcement service:               $63,648
  2. 2 years of detention/corrections/law enforcement service:           $64,896
  3. 3 years of detention/corrections/law enforcement service:            $66,144
  4. 4 years of detention/corrections/law enforcement service:            $67,392
  5. 5 years of detention/corrections/law enforcement service:            $68,640
  6. 6+ years of detention/corrections/law enforcement service:          $69,888


This posting is to create an eligible for hire list for Detention Officer candidates. When all current positions have been filled, those who meet all requirements and complete all steps of the recruitment process will be placed on an active Eligible for hire list and first to receive a contingent offer of employment when an opening becomes available.