As a teacher of H S Seniors and Jr College students on the high desert of SoCal, I watched as the County Sheriff's departments around me (San Berdoo, Riverside, Kern, and Inyo) did their recruiting visits to our career days each year. They paid a lot of attention to the Jocks and the organized Explorer Posts and Aux. Reserve groups on all the local H S campus's.
For awhile in the late 1990's Kern County even dropped the minimum age for applicants to 19 (from 21). They were that short of qualified candidates.