Tehama County, CA – The Tehama County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) announced last week that it would be suspending daytime patrols in the county later this month because of “catastrophic staffing shortages” as a result of underfunding.
The sheriff’s department released a statement on its official Facebook page on Nov. 7 that explained what was happening and why.
“We have spoken the Board for several years and warned them that staffing levels are too low,” the law enforcement agency’s post read. “Rather than take swift and decisive action, they have delayed and allowed too many good employees to leave.”
In the past year, more than 20 percent of the TCSO staff has resigned and the number of applications from potential employees is very low, KRCR reported.
Sheriff’s deputies will continued to maintain nighttime patrols in the county but the sheriff has asked the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to step in and handle daytime life-threatening emergencies in Tehama County, SFGate reported.
“Obviously, response times are going to be affected,” TCSO Lieutenant Rob Bakken told KRCR. “And we’ve made the decisions to limit, as much as we can, the dangers to public safety. But not having deputies on the streets, obviously, is not beneficial to the public.”
The staffing shorting has affected more than just patrols on the streets, according to the sheriff’s department.
The jail is currently has 60 percent of the staff that it should have, KRCR reported.
“Several housing units within the Jail have been shut down, the Dispatch Center was temporarily shut down and now Dayshift Patrol will be shut down. We will continue to do everything we can for the great citizens of Tehama County,” the social media post explained.
Lt. Bakken told KRCR that salaries in the county are not competitive with other nearby area and that has hurt recruiting.
Tehama County offers an hourly wage of between $25 and $30, which adds up to about $52,000-$62,000 a year before overtime.
By comparison, sheriff’s deputies in nearby Solano County start out at about $82,000 a year, KRCR reported.