(WGHP) — Triad detention officers are taking extra shifts in mandatory overtime to help fill gaps in county facilities.
“Our staff is working more hours, working more days because we have to make sure that the facility is staffed. We’re responsible for the residents there, and we have to take care of them,” said Captain Cameron Whitt, a security captain in the Forsyth County Detention Center.
There are currently 74 open positions at the facility.
“Leaving something uncovered is not an option for us. Even if I have to come in myself and work on night shift, which I’ve done, myself and other command staff to make sure we have the coverage,” Captain Whitt explained.
He said a contract security company is also helping fill voids.
“We have a contract for 38 contracted security officers that come in currently. We have 24 of those positions filled. The problem is they’re not certified detention officers, so they can’t supervise the residents. They have to work in non-supervisor roles such as control rooms and other positions,” Captain Whitt said. “I’ve actually had several of their personnel interested in becoming detention officers”
An open house last month has helped attract new candidates.
“It’s not like most of your jobs. You can’t just see the inside of a jail normally and from a civilian point of view, so we want them to see what we work in. It’s not the jail you remember from the ‘Andy Griffith show.’ It’s not the bars. It’s not what you see on TV,” Captain Whitt said.
In Guilford County, Sheriff Danny Rogers is offering incentives like sign-on bonuses and a 25% pay bump to part-time detention officers.
The detention center is also employing mandatory overtime to provide coverage across the jail.
“Our pods are not uncovered, so my goal has been to be able to continue to keep two people to a floor. Unfortunately, right now cannot do that because of the shortage,” Sheriff Rogers said.
Guilford County has about 60 detention center vacancies. Davidson County reports 12, and Randolph County has 15.