Law enforcement agencies take several steps to deal with staffing shortages

Local

Local law enforcement agencies are pulling out all of the stops to end staffing shortages.

It is a problem they have faced the last few years.

“City council earlier had planned, had passed a staffing study, phase one of the staffing study, so we’re trying to fill positions regarding that at this time,” said Sgt. Jeremy Vogel, of the Wichita Police Department.

Wednesday, Wichita police announced a 33 cent increase to $22.46 an hour for recruits. 

“It’s just like a sports team,” said Vogel. “You’re trying to get that great next big rising star, and it could come down to something as important as pay, whether it be this team or that team. And, we want to be as competitive as we can.”

While police have their recruitment efforts in place, the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office has all hands-on deck trying to fill positions at the detention facility.

Wednesday, 18 recruits were training in their final week before graduation. 

But, even after they become detention deputies, the jail will still have about 50 openings. 

The sheriff’s office has been reaching out through social media, career fairs and also lowered the age for jail applicants from 19 to 18.

“This allows us the opportunity to start them right into a law enforcement career,” said Col. Brian White, of the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office. 

One recent hire says, when it all comes down to it, shortages are a safety concern.

“Say a fight breaks out over here on this side of the jail, and another one breaks out here, what happens if we don’t have enough deputies to go respond to those fights,” said Daniel Rainwater, who’s been a deputy since September 2018. 

The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office will be having a career fair for detention center openings Saturday for anyone who’s interested, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will be at 4310 East 19th.

You can also contact Sgt. Steve Olsen at 316-660-3800.

To apply to become a Wichita police officer, click here.

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