King County Sheriff’s Office targeting multilingual candidates, Peace Corps experience in hiring

information from King County Sheriff

King County Sheriff John Urquhart announced today that the Sheriff’s Office will now list the ability to speak languages other than English and two years of experience serving in a foreign country while in the Peace Corps as “desirable qualities” in its hiring practices. As part of this new initiative, candidates meeting the new criteria will get an extra ten percent boost to their civil service scores, potentially vaulting them ahead of other candidates in the Sheriff’s Office hiring pool.

“A police department can only be successful if it is a mirror of the community,” said Sheriff John Urquhart. “This new policy will help me create a Sheriff’s Office more reflective of the diversity and commitment to service King County has to offer.”

State law requires candidates applying for a county sheriff’s office to complete a civil service exam. The candidate’s written score is combined with a score from an oral interview to give the candidate a final civil service score and ranking. The candidate’s final score remains on the Sheriff’s Office hiring list for a year where the candidate is ranked among other candidates. Under state law, candidates with military service experience receive an extra five percent boost to their civil service score, and an extra ten percent boost if the candidate served in a combat zone while in the military.

Under the Sheriff’s new hiring policy, candidates will also receive a ten percent boost to their final civil service score if they speak a language other than English that is spoken in King County and that the Sheriff’s Office deems valuable.

“We are living in a multi-cultural, multi-language county,” said Sheriff Urquhart. “We can’t do our job if we can’t communicate with those we serve,” he added.

Candidates with two years of Peace Corps experience can verify their service with a Description of Service (DOS) document. The DOS is routinely issued by the Peace Corps to verify service for purposes of preferential hiring in the federal government. More information on the professional and career benefits of service in the Peace Corps can be found at

Candidates will not be able to combine percentages to boost to their civil service score. This means that a candidate who has served in the military or Peace Corps who speaks a second language will receive a maximum of ten percent extra to his or her final civil service score.

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