Mar 17, 2015 8:48 PM by Angela Musallam
Shasta County Supervisors voted Tuesday to give Sheriff Tom Bosenko $910,000 to add more deputies and ramp up service in eastern Shasta County.
The sheriff's office is short more than 60 deputies currently, and Sheriff Bosenko says it's a real problem when his office can't recruit or retain the deputies it needs.
The Shasta County Sheriff's Office responded to 48-thousand calls last year, and being understaffed has put a real strain on deputies.
"Many of these calls are two-person calls, so a deputy in Happy Valley may have to drive all the way out to Palo Cedro to back an officer up, taking him or her out of his area in Happy Valley."
In 2009, Shasta County's budget took a four-million dollar cut which slashed eleven deputy positions within the sheriff's office.
The office is now staffed with a total of 83 deputies and supervisors -- that's half the number of deputies needed to serve about 78-thousand people living in unincorporated Shasta County.
Sheriff Bosenko says the last three decades have been a challenge when it comes down to keeping deputies on the payroll.
Neighboring law enforcement agencies with more competitive pensions and salaries are enticing deputies to leave.
"We're also having a difficult time recruiting candidates. We're seeing hard drug use -- people that have recent hard drug use such as methamphetamine and heroin apply...we've seen people that have had gang affiliations apply for positions as well."
The sheriff's office currently has five vacancies for deputies and four have candidates that would be assigned to the Intermountain area -- that area makes up for 60-percent of the county, and yet, has the least amount of coverage.
"In the mid to late nineties due to budget cuts, the staff was reduced so then they went to less than 24 hours a day coverage. By the time we get those people hired and trained, that will allow us to give 24 hours of coverage to the Intermountain area."
Philip Herrell grew up in Burney and still has family there -- he says ramping up coverage to the eastern part of Shasta County will be a big help.
"I know they're short on deputies, short on service in Shasta County...some of the outerlying areas are suffering for deputies and they need more money to be able to put deputies on the streets."
Another citizen says he's all for increasing public safety efforts if the money is spent the right way.
"There are bad dudes out there that need to be brought down sometimes."
The $910,000 would fund an additional five deputies, add two support staff members to the Burney substation and provide two squad cars.
Sheriff Bosenko says he's thankful the board could help but says public safety is an ongoing expense that's going to keep climbing in the coming years.
2 days ago