(WGHP) — Triad jails have a detention officer shortage. Right now, officials are looking for dozens of people to come work at various detention centers.
The problem is widespread. Deputies told FOX8 part of the problem is that people are not applying for positions.
Another problem is pay.
Sgt. Mary Buchanan leads the Personnel and Training Division at the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office. She said that they’re losing people to the private sector because they just can’t compete with that kind of pay.
While the sheriff’s office is in the middle of a pay study, and increases are expected, there’s still an officer shortage.
Agencies across the Triad are now having to get creative to fill in the gaps.
“One person might have to do extra rounds or may have to supervise different aspects of the detention facility,” Buchanan said.
“During the summer, we’re a little bit more short staffed because of vacationing, so we’re going to be pulling sworn officers to assist voluntarily,” added M. Sands with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.
Those are just some of the changes being made because of the detention officer shortage.
“They supervise the inmates in the housing units, they’re responsible for keeping count of the inmates and making sure the inmates stay safe,” Buchanan said.
She’s trying to recruit people to become detention officers at both the Greensboro and High Point jails.
“We need 46 officers,” Buchanan said.
In Forsyth County, they need 32 detention officers. In Randolph County, they need 10. In Davidson County, they’re about 6-8 officers short.
“When we’re short staffed, the burden and the workload goes up. It makes everybody’s job about three times more difficult,” Sands said.
She works at the Forsyth County Detention Center and is worried the shortage is only going to get worse.
“Our resident population is 40% down, but it keeps increasing week to week,” Sands said. “Now that everything is re-opening, we have court. We have probation, and it’s increasing our numbers in the population. Our staffing is not matching up with that.”
Both officers told FOX8 they hope the vacancies get filled quickly. Not just so current detention officers can get some relief but so inmates get the resources and help they deserve.
“Our jobs make a difference with those that we interact with, whether it’s inmates or officers, even the public that comes in to visit the inmates,” Buchanan said. “Every part of a detention service officer, and even a deputy sheriff, is important.”
Both officers stressed to FOX8 that there is no safety hazard with the staffing shortages. They have people working overtime and double duty to make sure everyone is safe.
Both detention centers will hold career fairs in the coming days.