SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Sergeant Tony Soddu is the recruiting officer for the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office. He’s the right man for the job.

Soddu was born in Richmond, Virginia before high school in Raleigh, North Carolina and attending N.C. State University.

He was in the dry-cleaning business for years but decided in his late 30’s he wanted to do something else. That turned out to be law enforcement.

Soddu started as a volunteer deputy before becoming a full-time employee.

“It was a huge, huge leap of faith and I can’t say everyone understood what I was trying to do,” he tells 7NEWS. “But I knew I wanted to do – and it’s not to be hokey – I knew I wanted to do something that mattered.”

Soddu became the office’s recruiting officer in August and believed it was appealing to candidates.

“We have several people that are looking at other agencies and I think one of the things they feel like is we just made it feel like home,” according to Soddu. “We made it a very family-friendly atmosphere.”

Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office Recruiting Officer, Sgt. Tony Soddu (Right) and Vance Mahaffey (Left)

Sgt. Soddu has added QR codes outside his sheriff’s office vehicle that take possible candidates directly to the recruiting site. When he started in August, there were 20 vacancies at the sheriff’s office and 50 more at the detention center.

He tells us they’re on pace to have the sheriff’s office open jobs down to single digits and to cut the detention center openings in half by the end of the year.

What is he looking for in a candidate? You might be surprised.

“There isn’t a specific dynamic that makes a good candidate for us. Again, with the misinformation that you have to have military experience or be a navy seal of being 6 foot, 5 inches and bench 500 pounds. Not at all.”

Soddu said, “I need people with character. People who can talk and communicate and people who want to make a difference. That’s going to make a good candidate for us.”