DeKalb County struggles to staff jail - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

DeKalb County struggles to staff jail

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office is just one law enforcement agency across metro Atlanta having a tough time staffing its jail, and right now the jail needs at least 60 more detention officers.

Even the sheriff admits it's a thankless job, but some men and women have stepped up to do it. Detention officers at the DeKalb County Jail work 10 hour shifts: processing, booking, and supervising accused criminals.

DeKalb sheriff Thomas Brown says the county is in desperate need of more employees for the jail.

"One of the biggest things we are looking for in an officer or deputy is someone that will hold their temper and be professional at all times. You get no better practice than the DeKalb County Jail," said Brown.

Brown says they have a tough time finding qualified applicants, especially those interested in a career in law enforcement who are willing to start inside the jail instead of on the streets.

"Here you are going to go through just as strenuous background investigation as you would with any other law enforcement police department," Brown said.

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office only has 125 officers that patrol. Most of their officers secure the courthouse and manage the jail. The jail currently has 320 detention officers on staff -- 68 officers short of what they need. It's why the sheriff hopes people will consider giving this side of public safety a shot.

"A great place to start a career. Health benefits, the pension plan," said Brown.

The sheriff says the salary may be another reason why there's not a rush to apply for a detention officer job. They start at around $30,000 year, but it's a good foot in the door. Staff members attend several job fairs each quarter to help in our recruitment efforts.  The next one will be May 23rd.  It is the Veterans Career Fair and Diversity Job Expo at Beaver Ruin Life Center in Norcross.  They usually start around 9 a.m.

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