CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. (WROC) — The Ontario County Sheriff’s Office is working to put an end to staffing issues through lateral transfers.

That means any police officer in the state can apply to work in Ontario County for pay that is commensurate with experience, along with some incentives.

The department has worked in a sign-on bonus, retention bonuses, a take-home patrol car for deputies, and more. Applicants must also agree to become Ontario County residents.

“The reason we’re doing this is for some immediate relief,” said John Falbo, Undersheriff with Ontario County Sheriff’s Office. “We were losing a lot of deputies last year, just going to different agencies paying higher wages and benefits.”

Transfers have always been possible, but Falbo says the department’s new contract could attract even more eyes. So far, Falbo says they’ve been getting more interest than expected.

“We got one application from a New York City police officer,” he said. “So we know it’s gone as far down into the city at least.”

He says a lot of the process is attracting people the area: getting them interested in the beauty of the Finger Lakes, and appreciation for a smaller community.

The end goal is a stronger team – and a smooth transition for when the department’s new sheriff is elected later this year.

“We’re still very short-staffed right now,” he said. “We want to take the maximum [number of applicants] we can because we want that relief for the summer months so we can start creeping out of our staffing crisis. And hopefully, by the end of this year we are hopeful to have full staff back,” he said.

The department is also looking for lateral transfers within their correctional facilities, which have also been short-staffed.