Sheriff Deepens Pool to Attract Diversity

Leading the diversity charge in Montgomery County (L to R): Deputy Nikki Burns; Communications & Public Information Coordinator Teresa Harris; Policy Director & Office Manager Kimberly Van Heygen; Sheriff Sean P. Kilkenny; Dep. Bryan Lukens, and Deputy Kimberly Giovinco-Thompson

Montgomery County (Pennsylvania) Sheriff Sean P. Kilkenny and his staff have kicked off a new law enforcement and office staff recruiting program in an effort to draw more diverse candidates.

Instead of relying on the regular flow of interested candidates who apply for positions in the Sheriff’s Office, the agency is now actively participating in many career and community career events, in order to recruit new employees.

“The Sheriff’s Office personally interacts with a diverse array of thousands of citizens each week at the courthouse and in communities,” said Sheriff Kilkenny. “Diversity isn’t just about colors or lifestyles. It also means different ways of thinking and solving problems.”3

“I believe that having a diverse staff will help build stronger relationships with our communities and provide a wider range of opinions and experiences so we can better problems and improve services,” said Kilkenny. “I also want potential employees feel that it would be a great place to work.”

The office’s new recruiting program is manned by experienced and engaging staff recruiters along with a dynamic visual display board of the various units in action. A newly developed electronic presentation gives candidates an overview of the role and duties of the Sheriff’s Office. Job seekers receive a kit that includes a fact sheet, application and contact card. Information about internships and the Shadow Program are also available.

“We’ve been getting some great feedback on the recruiting program and we will continue to modify it as needed,” said Kilkenny. “It’s always surprising to find that many people still don’t know what we do, so it’s great to have the opportunity to tell our story.”

Kilkenny said he was more than pleased with the results of a recent physical agility testing for new recruits who came from very diverse backgrounds. Out of the 141 applicants, 54 of them participated in the physical agility testing. Out of the 42 participants that passed, 20 percent were female, 16.5 percent were Black, 7 percent were Hispanic, and one applicant was Asian.

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