Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department: Gaining a Competitive Edge in Hiring

4 min read

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), the largest sheriff’s department in the world and the fourth largest policing agency in the United States, provides law enforcement services to over 3 million residents.

In 2015, LASD identified the need to grow response teams, create new task forces and implement more prevention strategies like after-school programs for at-risk youth. In order to bring in new recruits, however, the department relies on meticulous background checks and a rigorous training program.

The hiring process for LASD’s deputy sheriffs had remained largely unchanged for 15-20 years, and relied on the creation of a “jacket,” a background file of, in some cases, over 1,000 individual pages. Managing jacket creation—from around 2 million pages submitted by over 8,000 eligible applicants annually—caused issues related to efficiency, security and document retention.

Applicants would take from six to 18 months just to reach the primary approval phase. This phase required LASD to create a jacket summary and send it through a two-tiered approval process. Since LASD processed an average of 5,000 jacket summaries annually, typing this summary sheet alone took 10,000 hours. In addition to creating these physical documents, LASD needed to transport and store them at an offsite third-party storage facility after year-end auditing.

In order to hire top talent, LASD needed to eliminate inefficiencies, shorten hiring turnaround and enhance engagement with candidates.

“We needed to be able to create an open level of communication with our applicants, to help them become vested in not only law enforcement, but joining the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department,” says LASD Commander Judy Gerhardt.

LASD transformed its practice of hiring deputy sheriffs in order to meet the changing needs of the county.

Increasing Efficiency in Employee Onboarding

LASD researched a variety of solutions and found Laserfiche enterprise content management (ECM) provided a level of flexibility for HR automation that matched the department’s specific needs.

“Laserfiche met our content management needs and easily molded to meet other objectives,” says Andres Bilbao, LASD Special Projects Deputy Sheriff. “The very robust workflow activity options showed how we could reach our current goals while accommodating for future goals that are yet to be determined.”

The current need, however, was to bring in more top-tier talent, faster, all while maintaining accuracy and complying with hiring mandates. LASD uses Laserfiche Forms and Workflow for HR automation, which electronically collects information that was previously printed on thousands of pages of paper.

Applicants receive a link to a Personal History Statement that LASD uses to collect information via metadata from 1,600 unique fields.

“Laserfiche Forms is our portal to the world. The ability to standardize a form and email or host a link to that form allows us to gather information efficiently,” Bilbao says. “Laserfiche Workflow, on the other hand, is our invisible staff member. Workflow will be increasingly more involved in our backgrounds process and department as a whole.”

As Bilbao infers, the benefits of implementing Laserfiche in LASD’s HR automation solution went beyond saving paper, allowing the department to eliminate redundant forms and unnecessary tasks. The length of time to hire was ultimately shortened—which is critical in order for the department to compete with other agencies in the race for high-quality applicants.

Additionally, all applicant information is now easily searchable via metadata, and Laserfiche sends email updates to candidates throughout the process, improving the relationship between the organization and its applicants. Laserfiche Workflow also securely archives information, making it easy to retrieve during yearly audits by the Police Officer Standards and Training Council.

A Streamlined, Paperless Future

“By reducing our inefficiencies, engaging our applicants and dedicating ourselves to a system that provides a competitive hiring time frame, we can continue to meet our goals of hiring the best,” Gerhardt explains.

Todd Rogers, Assistant Sheriff, accepts a Run Smarter Award at the Laserfiche Empower Conference, recognizing LASD’s innovative hiring initiative.

By automating and transforming HR onboarding with Laserfiche ECM, LASD:

  • Drove the time-to-hire down from as long as 18 months by restructuring the process, eliminating inefficiencies and establishing parallel processes
  • Used personalized email notifications to engage candidates throughout the hiring process
  • Established milestones for reporting and process baselines
  • Maintained security throughout the entire hiring process, including archiving and storing jackets for the appropriate length of time

LASD continues to increase efficiency by using HR automation to eliminate redundancies. Additionally, LASD seeks new ways to streamline back-office operation, including digitizing all employee files, which would give employees more time to focus on the services that directly affect LA residents.

“Laserfiche is allowing us to function in a more streamlined manner and also to focus on details that we never had time for or even imagined were options previously. We set out to replace an out-of-date tracker and ended up reinventing what we do,” says Bilbao.

Click here to learn more about how HR processes, such as employee onboarding and records management, can be streamlined with Laserfiche. 

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