We Need Pay Raises: Sheriff Deputies Blame Board for Not Enough Boots on the Ground

Humboldt County Sheriff's Deputies OrganizationPress Release from Humboldt County Deputy Sheriff’s Organization:

One month after Humboldt County Supervisors executed their $8.9 million Measure Z public safety plan promising 13 new deputy sheriffs, there are still no new deputies on patrol. The Humboldt County Sheriffs Office announced on July 20 that Measure Z funds had so far been used to give deserved promotions to two experienced deputies and that the Sheriff’s Department will bring in five rookie deputies if they can successfully pass their training program. But those rookie deputies are still weeks and months away from being on patrol, leaving Humboldt County’s patrol coverage at the current historic low.

The public needs to know that the Board of Supervisors’ plan to improve public safety looks good on paper, but it isn’t working in the real world. The Board promised the public 13 new deputies starting July 1, but they didn’t do anything to address the fact we are having a very hard time keeping our experienced officers and recruiting additional experienced officers from other communities,” said HDSO president Jamie Barney. “Because they overlooked the public safety staffing crisis, the Supervisor’s plan is failing in the first month, leaving us with no new deputies on patrol, public safety tax dollars in danger of being sucked into the black hole of the County General Fund, and Supervisors in danger of breaking their public safety promises.”

The Board of Supervisor’s approved Measure Z public safety plan included nearly $300,000 to be spent last month for 13 new deputies, but that money went largely unspent due to the county’s public safety personnel crisis resulting in a complete inability to recruit experienced deputies.

Many nights only 5 deputies patrol the entire 4,000 square miles of the county resulting in low staff morale and officer burnout. In combination with the County’s refusal to offer comparable compensation levels to other similar departments – resulting in both a recruitment and retention problem with the Department, public safety staffing has reached a crisis level. According to HDSO, 11 experienced deputies have left the department for other jobs in the last five years. 

More information can be found at the HDSO website: www.humboldtsheriffs.org



  • Is one month really long enough to properly interview and vet and get a new hire on patrol?

    I’d love to see the salary levels from other comparable rural counties compared with Humboldt’s deputies.

  • From day one, Downey said it would take up to TWO YEARS for the staffing levels Measure Z promised to be achieved. I guess no one was listening.

  • If Wood’s SB-643 bill goes through, the local & state LEO’ get to share 30% of Mmj taxes, leaving the red tape agencies the remaining 70% of the extortion funds. Cheer up.
    (Note: not a penny for Mmj medical patients in studies, medi-care, or anything, but they do receive higher prices due to the higher payouts the farmers have to shed foreward. Lucky patients eh)

  • givememoremoney

    So HDSO president want raises for the deputies that are already there…..Well looking at his benefit package he made $117,841 in 2012 and in 2013 his total package was $145,250 that is a raise of 27,463 …I am wondering how much he made last year………

  • I’m a little surprised they admit that they’ve only lost 11 deputies in 5 years and are using that as an indication of high turnover. My guess is that is likely comparable (and might even be lower) that the turnover of law enforcement officers in other departments/areas…?
    I’ve also heard the Sheriff’s department wasn’t prepared with the infrastructure needed to recruit and hire the number of deputies funded by Measure Z. If so, laying blame on the supervisors really isn’t fair…

  • At least 3 maybe 4 were fired for being criminals

  • I know a Sheriff Deputy, he tells me that it’s an awesome job, pretty easy and that with the overtime he makes a great living. Just what I was told …

  • Everyone needs to take a look at the 2015-2016 Budget for the Humboldt County Sheriff’s office. It is very similar to the 2014-2015 Budget, which was before Measure Z. Please remember that the Sheriff is an ELECTED position. That means the County gives the Sheriff’s Department the money and the Sheriff spends it at his/her discretion. Here are some figures and then you be the judge as to what is/isn’t wrong with this department:

    Sheriff Dept total budget is $ 34,420,245 for 278 total positions

    Breakdown: Animal Control: $912,425 for 13 positions
    Custody Services (the jail): $13,311,449 for 130.4 positions
    Coroner : $ 768,750 for 5.4 positions
    Emergency Services: $ 460,044 for 1.2 positions
    Operations (deputies): $18,967,577 for 128 positions

    I continue to wonder why do we need more people and more money.

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