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Low staffing & funding leads Tehama County Sheriff's Office to respond to fewer calls, county says it was blindsided

Law enforcement in Tehama County warning that it won't be answering certain calls for service due to a funding shortfall.

Posted: Aug 25, 2020 6:37 PM
Updated: Aug 26, 2020 8:14 AM

TEHAMA COUNTY, Calif. - Law enforcement in Tehama County warning that it won't be answering certain calls for service due to a funding shortfall.

The Tehama County Sheriff's Office won't be responding to certain calls for service for situations such as vandalism, shoplifting, and public noise complaints just to name a few.

RELATED: Sheriff: Lack of funding & low staffing forcing department to respond to fewer calls

In a two-page letter by Tehama County Sheriff Dave Hencratt, the letter says the department will no longer respond to certain calls for service because of low staffing and lack of competitive pay.

Zachary Backus, the President of the Tehama County Deputy Sheriff's Association, tells Action News Now that during the recession several years ago, the association took a 9% pay cut.

“We make less or as much as we did today than we did nine years,” said Backus. “It makes it very hard for us to offer competitive wages in order to get qualified applicants and to retain people.”

The letter also states that the department is losing deputies to other cities and counties.

“We're losing people with a decade or more experience to the Redding Police Department to the Forest Service, to Modoc County,” said Backus. “We're having a very difficult time backfilling those positions.”

Tehama County Chief Administrator Officer Bill Goodwin says they were blind-sided by this letter.

“I'm disappointed because the [Board of Supervisors] has a strong commitment to public safety,” said Goodwin.

“If [Sheriff Hencratt] wanted to initiate a conversation, he would've initiated a conversation.”

Goodwin says that the Sheriff's Office, its employees, and public safety are a priority for the county.

But for people who live further out in Tehama County, they heavily rely on the Sheriff’s Office People in Tehama County say while they understand that the Sheriff’s Office won't be responding to calls like vandalism or noise complaints, they want to see more funding for the department.

“We're out on the outside of the city and response times will go up,” said Dede Vogel. “They're already half an hour and it will be much more significant.”

The Tehama County Deputy Sheriff's Association and the county say both parties have been in talks and negotiations for the past year.

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