GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Staffing is not a new problem at Guilford County Detention Centers, but it continues putting too much strain on detention officers. 

“I worry about it every day,” said Major George Moore, with the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office. “I’ve been worried about it for a while now.” 

Moore has been in charge of the detention centers for two years. He said detention officers have been doing mandatory overtime for almost a year. 

“Mandatory overtime is never supposed to be permanent,” he said. “It’s not a permanent solution.”

Officers are pulling two additional 12-hour shifts a month to oversee the more than 600 inmates. It’s time away from family and friends.  

“We’ve got to get some people in the door,” Moore said. “We’ve got to get these guys that are working overtime a break. They’ve just got to have some time away.” 

One officer is assigned to general population blocks, and two officers are in the disciplinary blocks during the staffing shortage. There are 48 inmates in the blocks. 

“When we are short sometimes, we do have to have an officer work two blocks, which means they have to go and do rounds in each block to make sure the inmates are safe,” he said. 

Sometimes that means keeping inmates in their cells for more than 24 hours.  

“When we don’t have staff, and we have to say ‘alright, we can’t do the rec [recreation] hours tonight because it’s not safe for our officers,'” he said. “It’s tough when they can’t come out and get some of that energy out.” 

Moore told FOX8 that morale among employees is suffering in this type of staffing situation. 

“It’s hard to come in every day and have people come to me and say, ‘hey can we quit this mandatory overtime?’ when we absolutely can’t,” he said. “When we have 65 vacancies in the jail, we can’t safely not staff the jail and not have mandatory overtime.”

He’s hoping to quickly fill 65 detention officer openings. 

“Some of these guys don’t understand. They don’t understand we have to staff the jail and make it as safe as possible for their brothers and sisters when they’re not here,” Moore said. 

Both new and current officers get a $5,000 incentive, longevity pay after five years on the job and 5% towards their 401-K from the county. 

“It’s a good job when you have enough people to do it,” he said. “It makes it a lot easier. People don’t have to work essentially two jobs when you have more people coming in the door.”

Recruiters are in the process of hiring 10 detention officers. Moore told FOX8 that if the agency hired another 25 detention officers, it would make overtime not mandatory. 

If you’re interested in a position, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office is holding an information session on Wednesday, July 27, at 6:00 p.m.

It’ll be located inside the Sheriff’s Administrative Office at 400 W. Washington St. in Greensboro. Call (336) 641-3387 to sign up.