CLAREMORE, Okla. — Local law enforcement isn't immune to the everyday staffing struggles businesses are experiencing right now.
The Rogers County Sheriff’s Office is battling low staffing numbers.
“To serve this community, we can’t do it with less," said Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton. "We gotta have more.”
Walton said even just one person out impacts the department.
“If we lose, you know, we got four guys on a shift, one’s sick, it’s pretty easy to do the math," Walton said. "You’ve got a 25 percent reduction in your workforce.”
The Rogers County Sheriff’s Office is already working with a small staff while covering 711 square miles. Walton said they serve the largest population of all 77 Oklahoma counties.
“One deputy for 20,000 people," Walton said. "I want people to understand that when they go into cities and towns, municipal reasons like that, you know, that ratio is more one to 1,000.”
Walton said, while they do retain employees well, they’ve always had a problem with not having enough staff as the county grows. Some move on to higher-paying departments. And now, there's a struggle to find qualified candidates.
“The pool that we have to hire from now certainly is less than it was a few years ago," Walton said.
There is help on the way. An increase in the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office budget this year will allow them to hire more deputies and purchase more patrol cars.
“The things that we need to serve this community are men and women in uniform with cars underneath them that can drive those 711 sq. miles and do the job that they’re trained to do," Walton said.
Walton said they are in the process of hiring more deputies for the jail, which will eventually allow them to get more deputies on patrol.
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