Staffing shortages have affected a multitude of agencies across the country. Most agencies cite pandemic staffing losses, low pay, and the danger of the job as the cause of the staffing crisis.
Douglas County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia is just one of many departments suffering from a staffing shortage. Douglas County finds itself down nearly 60 deputies out of what should be 350 sworn deputies responsible for over 130 000 people in just 200 square miles.
Due to such a shortage, some deputies have allegedly been having to work upwards of 78 hours of overtime per pay period. Douglas County Sheriff’s Officer Lieutenant Colonel Tavarreus Pounds stated in an interview, “I’ve seen people pull 72 hours of overtime in a pay period. We’ve got vacancies everywhere, and everyone is pulling their share, but they do get burned out from time to time, so we’re trying to relieve that. Right now, we’re having to pull people off the road.”
Fewer deputies mean fewer eyes on the Douglas County streets to proactively reduce crime. When asked about the lack of deputies, Lieutenant Pounds stated, “We just can’t be at every place at all times. We would love to have a full shift of 15 to 20 people on the patrol shift so that we can be in more places and reduce the crime in the county.”
Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is holding a hiring event to solve the staffing issue. “We need good quality people, good quality candidates to come out so that we can place them in those positions so that we won’t lose people because we are burning them out and burning them too much.”
However, Douglas County isn’t the only agency in Georgia trying to hire more officers. Atlanta Police Department is trying to hire 250 officers this year after the president of the union representing the Atlanta Police Department predicted a mass exodus of officers if the City of Atlanta refused to raise officers’ salaries by more than 2%.