PALM DESERT, Calif. -

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department is hiring. It held an open house Saturday to demonstrate what joining its team is all about.

"We're offering people the opportunity to see what dispatchers do and to let them know what other positions we have in the desert," said Cheryl Evans, a captain with RSD.

The line of potential applicants was out the door, people from all backgrounds with a common interest in the agency's mission and benefits.

"I'm looking for something rewarding, something that's helping the public," said Alma Garcia of La Quinta.

"I've been in the military for 10 years and I'm looking to transition over," said Melvin Fields of Indio.

"If I can improve my lifestyle and my working life that would be great for me and my family," said Nelida Ortiz of Pomona.

They got a tour of Palm Desert's dispatch center and a rundown of what each job entails.

"It was very helpful, very useful and the tour was very nice," Fields said.

And don't worry if you think you lack the experience to join.

"Most of our positions are just that basic, entry-level type of knowledge because we do all the training you need," Evans said.
    
In addition to 20 dispatcher openings, the department hopes to fill about 400 positions for the East County Detention Center in Indio, set to open by late 2016.

"They range from deputy, correction deputy, 911 communication officer; but also we need food service workers, correctional counselors, we need office staff, we need accounting staff.  We need a lot of people to help us when we open that jail," Evans said.

Deputies we spoke with say the job not only provides a great paycheck, but a sense of community. 

"We have a great sense of teamwork and a family environment and we want to make people part of the team," Evans said.