WICHITA, Kan (KSNW) – Just this year, police have arrested six deputies in Sedgwick County, three of them worked in the Sedgwick County jail. Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter said this combined with understaffing issues is causing a strain on the office.
The Sedgwick County Jail currently has 80 openings for correctional deputies. A shortage that Sheriff Easter said impacts every employee. This issue reaches beyond county lines.
Cowley County sheriff David Falletti said he is having a hard time finding correctional officers too.
“I’ve been in this job for over 25 years, and I’ve never seen it this bad,” said Falletti.
Falletti said right now in Cowley County, he has three openings for corrections officers for the county jail and only a few applications.
“Being a corrections officer is not the easiest job in the world, you’re meeting people when they’re probably at the worst points in their life, we see a lot of drug abuse alcohol abuse,” said Falletti. “And a lot of mental illness is in the jail right now so it is difficult sometimes for folks to get in that kind of environment.”
Sheriff Falletti said his correction officers are working extra hours, and the pay isn’t enough to get most of them to stay.
“For me, we have the prison here in Winfield. They raised their starting rate up to over $18 an hour, if I have an individual making $14 an hour it’s just common sense,” said Falletti.
Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter said this month they received 100 applications for 80 openings, but only 14 were qualified to move forward in the hiring process. He’s also frustrated with the string of recent deputy arrests.
“I’m not gonna sit here and make excuses for them committing criminal acts, there’s no doubt they’re being overworked, and they’re burned out the best no excuse to commit a criminal act inside the jail at all,” said Easter.
Falletti said Cowley County hosted a job fair Wednesday morning but says only a few people attended. He hopes with the pandemic nearing an end, more people will apply for the vacant positions.
For more information on how to apply for a detention deputy job, click here. Residents in Sedgwick County with questions about the detention deputy position may contact the sheriff’s office training academy at (316) 660-3800.