Tuolumne County Sheriff Jim Mele and future sheriffs will have greater discretion in determining special assignments in the department, thanks to a new policy approved this week.
The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors and the county's Deputy Sheriff's Association have agreed on a new policy that gives the sheriff more flexibility in assigning deputies to positions such as detective, detective sergeant, boat patrol, coroner and more.
Previously, a number of those jobs were considered permanent positions instead of special assignment, which are jobs that are assigned to officers with limited terms.
Bill Morse, the county's human resources director, said on Wednesday that the move will give management in the Sheriff's Department more say in assigning positions while diversifying the experience of employees in the department.
With more positions set as special assignment instead of permanent posts, officers will have chances at time in the coroner's office or as investigators in the detectives unit, according to Morse.
"It gives the sheriff better control of when he gives his assignments," Morse said, also adding that when a deputy "gets ready for promotion ... he's a lot more experienced."
The policy change required a change to the contract between the county and the Deputy Sheriff's Association. Both parties agreed to the terms through deliberations in closed session.