TALLADEGA, Ala. (WIAT) — Instead of counting the number of inmates, Talladega Sheriff Jimmy Kilgore has been counting the number of correctional officers.
These days, correctional officer jobs are getting tougher to fill at the Talladega County Jail.
Sheriff Jimmy Kilgore knows firsthand who rose through the ranks in the Sheriff’s Office serving as an investigator, sergeant, lieutenant, captain and chief investigator.
“We’re short-staffed, trying to fill vacancies, and this is a field that there’s not a lot of people applying,” Kilgore said.
Kilgore says it’s an industry problem. On Thursday, Kilgore conducted interviews to fill vacant positions.
Talladega County Jail currently houses 325 inmates while the maximum capacity is 485. They currently have 40 correctional officers but need 10 more. That means the current staff has been working overtime with longer shifts which can become stressful.
Although the number of applicants is down, the standards have not relaxed. Applicants still have to pass the physical and academic tests in order to be considered.
“There’s not a lot of people interested in the law enforcement field. We used to have 20 – 30 applicants now we’re getting 6 or 7,” Talladega Chief Deputy Josh Tubbs said.
Tubbs has been in the law enforcement industry for 18 years and says the job can be dangerous. He’s pleased Kilgore filled four deputy positions Thursday. Positions that were needed.
Recent national studies of correctional workforce woes point to climbing rates of positions that sit open for longer periods. Undesirable hours and lower pay relative to other criminal justice careers are identified as contributing causes.
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