Westmoreland County, PA – A recent college graduate with no previous law enforcement experience has been hired as the second-in-command at the Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO), the sheriff recently announced.
Travis Day, 23, had submitted an application in the hopes of being hired as a deputy, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.
Instead, he walked onto the job at the rank of captain at the department, which employs 54 full-time, and 19 part-time deputies and support staff members.
“His resume far surpassed the others,” Sheriff Jonathan Held told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Five other applicants were also considered.
Day was most recently employed as a manager at a retail clothing store at the Westmoreland Mall, where he was hired in December of 2017.
Despite his complete lack of hands-on experience, Day boasts an impressive academic history, including bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice and political science, and a master’s degree in criminal investigation.
Sheriff Held said that Day will be required to complete a 19-week training program before he will be authorized to perform all of the duties of the WCSO.
Day will also be in line for acting sheriff in the event Sheriff Held, who was charged with a felony offense on Feb. 26, resigns or is removed from office.
Sheriff Held was charged after the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office accused him of having deputies seek and collect contributions for his 2015 re-election campaign while they were on duty, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
He appeared in court on Feb. 26, and was arraigned on misdemeanor theft of services, misdemeanor theft by unlawful taking, and felony conflict of interest. His next court appearance was scheduled for Mar. 15.
The WCSO’s hiring practices were already under investigation by county commissioners, after two applicants and a current deputy alleged in February that Chief Deputy Patricia Fritz refused to give them positions in the department because they were black, the Pittsburg Tribune-Review reported.
Deputy Fritz took an indefinite leave from the department after the investigation was launched.
Day’s first day of work was on Monday. He will serve in an administrative capacity until his training program is complete, the sheriff said.