The Orange County Sheriff's Department opened up recruitment Wednesday for its first class of correctional services assistants, who will help staff the jails at an eventual cost-savings of $10 million a year.

Because they are non-sworn personnel and receive less training, they are also less expensive, said Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. She said they will eventually make up 35% of the positions in the jail. Sworn positions will be reduced through attrition, Hutchens said.

"Just this year we have been required to reduce our budget by $28 million and next year we're looking at a $60-million reduction," Hutchens said in a statement. "Any savings we can obtain is of great benefit to Orange County taxpayers."

Initial recruitment is open to department employees but will open to the public in the next few months.

The first class of 50 correctional services assistants will attend nine weeks of training -- as opposed to the six months for deputies -- and they should begin working the jails by January 2010.

-- Tami Abdollah

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