EDITOR’S NOTE: Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office is beginning a new series of messaging to help keep the public informed and educated about the happenings at their Sheriff’s Office. The “Community Roll Call” series comes straight from Sheriff Joshua Brown and will be appearing regularly on our social media, and on the Tillamook County Pioneer. We hope you find it helpful and informative.
By Sheriff Joshua Brown
This Community Roll Call will be focusing on our current staffing levels at the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO), and some of the challenges we are facing.
TCSO has 60 full time employee positions allotted to the office – however, 16 positions are not currently filled. The allotted positions are 23 in the jail, 31 for patrol, and 6 for parole and probation/community corrections. We also have 8 part-time staff positions to help cover shifts and perform other critical tasks.
This translates to a critical staffing situation leaving us 8 people short in the jail, 7 short on patrol, and 1 short in Parole and Probation. In addition to open deputy positions, we also have openings for a records clerk and a jail technician.
This leaves only 12 full time staff members to cover our correctional facility 24/7 and 19 full time patrol staff to cover the entire 75 miles of coastline and 1,133 square miles of Tillamook County with more than 55 calls for service every day.
Of those patrol staff members, two are in training work alongside a field training officer, thus reducing coverage of shifts until they complete their training. Our 3 full time staff in Parole and Probation currently carry a caseload of 234 supervised individuals.
As we enter the busier summer season, our detective division will be down 3 investigators and forest and marine patrol will each be running one short.
Employee shortages are affecting all business sectors nationwide, but law enforcement as a whole is experience overwhelming difficulties with recruiting new people to the ranks. I believe there are many factors that contribute to this including the political climate and a state of negative public opinion toward law enforcement that has been prevalent over the past few years.
We are concentrating efforts to increase our ability to recruit new hires and also to retain the amazing people we currently have. In Tillamook County, we are extremely fortunate to have the overwhelming support of our citizens, and that is a great start. I am also looking at ways to increase the compensation for our deputies, which is currently the lowest for any law enforcement agency within our county and surrounding counties sheriff’s offices.
As we continue working to find solutions to our critical staffing situation, I am asking our community to please be patient and understanding. Our deputies will need to be triaging calls this summer in order to respond to those requiring an immediate emergency response. On any given night, there may be only two deputies covering the entire county and their response for non-emergency calls might be delayed or handled by a phone call when appropriate.
We have amazing law enforcement professionals in our county that absolutely have a passion for doing what is right and just. Despite our staffing shortages, we will continue to provide Tillamook County with the professional law enforcement services they have come to expect.
Do you feel a desire to serve your community and have a career that is both challenging and rewarding? If so, we could use your help! Please consider joining our incredible team of professionals here at the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office.