Law enforcement agencies across the state continue to face the challenge of recruiting and adequately staffing their departments. We are facing the same challenge here in Jackson County. Over the past year, we have been in a constant state of under-staffing – trying to fulfill our important obligations with the resources we have available. The way your deputies have stepped up to this challenge is a testament to their dedication to serve our community.
From recruitment to the completion of training, it takes approximately 15 to 18 months for a new entry-level deputy to be working independently on the streets of Jackson County. Because we cannot hire a new deputy until an opening exists – even with anticipated retirements and resignations – there is an unavoidable gap between the time we lose a seasoned deputy and gain a new one. This causes significant shortages in resources and places an additional workload on existing deputies.
Over the last several years, our calls for service per deputy have increased. We have also seen a rise in “Priority 1” calls for service. These calls tend to be more volatile and generally require two or more deputies to respond. They also take more time to investigate due to the severity of the calls. With more resources required to safely do our jobs, but with fewer resources available, you can see the challenge in creating a balance to best serve the community.
To confront this problem, we have been actively recruiting and attempting to hire individuals who meet the standards of the Sheriff’s Office and of our community. We have also focused on being more efficient with the resources we have. We have implemented a professional policing strategy to help with this; however, we know that efficiency alone can’t overcome a significant lack of staffing.
Despite these challenges – and the nationwide scrutiny on law enforcement in general – we are working hard to uphold the professionalism of our department and to promote the good work your deputies do in Jackson County every day. We are very thankful we live and work in a community that supports its law enforcement. We will continue to give the community our best.
Captain Nathan Sickler