Charleston County jail facing shortage of 98 detention deputies

Charleston County jail facing shortage of 98 detention deputies

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office has a shortage of 98 detention deputies.

There are nearly 383 positions total at the facility, and officials are looking for applicants.

County officials say there are other shortages throughout the state and the country, with employees having to work overtime to cover shifts.

Officials say they prioritize units that need coverage from a safety viewpoint like housing, behavioral discipline, and medical. They shift manpower from administrative positions to these priority units.

There's also a temporary mandatory rule that detention deputies must work an additional shift per two week pay period.

Sheriff’s office officials say a lot of people see the detention center position as a stepping stone to get into a law enforcement position so there’s often turnover.

They say they work at the jail for a couple of years to build their resume and experience and then apply to be a patrol officer.

The sheriff's office says they welcome those people, but they are especially interested in applicants who want a career at the detention center.

When it comes to the shortage, officials say they are also competing with more job opportunities in the area for younger people. They say a good thing about technology and local growth is that there are more job options.

“The biggest duty that we have is the care and custody of the people that we watch. We have to always make sure that the rules are followed and that no one hurts themselves or tries to hurt anyone else,” said Master Detention Deputy Carmelito Cruz Jr. who has worked for Charleston County for about 10 years.

The Berkeley County detention center currently has five open detention deputy positions.

“It’s not a boring job by no means, we come to work,” Cruz said."Another good part of the job that I like is I’m able to give people advice, help them out, give them direction and just help as much as I can."

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