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