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Guilford County jails struggling to hire

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The Guilford County Sheriff’s Office is having a hard time filling jobs at its jails. Right now, there are more than 60 openings in the High Point and Greensboro detention centers.

Capt. Jeffrey Rollins says interest in the jobs in the last few years has dropped significantly.

"It is crucial,” Rollins said. “We've always been short in my 27 year career. We’ve always had vacancies but it's never been to this extreme that we have right now."

Rollins says the amount of applicants is a third of what it was in 2012. Even those who do choose to work as detention officers, many often leave quickly.

"People pop in, give it a try and then somebody tells them something they don't want to hear and they said, ‘Oh well moving onto the next job,’” Rollins said.

To be able to run, the jail has its current employees work overtime. According to Rollins, the sheriff’s office is expected to spend more than $1.5 million on overtime pay this year, that money comes from the budget and funds saved from the unfilled positions.

"It is a tough job,” Captain Rollins said. “It can be a hostile environment but it pretty much is what you make of it.”

In the long run, the sheriff’s office wants to even out the number of officers coming and going. Rollins says the pay is already on the high end compared to other agencies. What the jails are now trying to do is make training longer and create a mentor program for new officers, to make them feel more comfortable and safe.

Lt. Andrew Boggs has worked at Guilford County jails for the last 13 years.

"I've seen thousands of situations and I still come in here and there's a new one every day for me so I think if people would give it time, they would see it's not as bad as what they think it is,” Boggs said.