Officials: Detention officer openings ‘hard to fill’ in Dorchester Co.

The Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office says they’re struggling to recruit detention officers.
Published: May. 17, 2023 at 3:25 PM EDT|Updated: May. 17, 2023 at 9:30 PM EDT
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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - The Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office says they’re struggling to recruit detention officers.

Out of 108 positions, the Sheriff L.C. Knight Detention Center has around 20 openings.

Sheriff L.C. Knight says it is apparent people don’t want to work in a correctional atmosphere, but he believes the job can be a great fit for many if they just give it a try.

The jail has been open for less than 10 years, and Knight believes it’s not a bad place to work.

“You’re dealing with individuals that are in jail waiting for their day in court and sometimes they are hard to deal with, but most of the time they are average individuals that made a mistake and want to get it over with, and they aren’t bad to deal with,” he said.

Knight understands working closely with inmates doesn’t come without its challenges.

“We have a certain percentage in there that may be in there for murder, or some other serious crime and they don’t care,” Knight said. “They don’t care if they bang you up or whatever, so you have to understand who you’re dealing with and how to deal with them, and that’s very challenging.”

He says it’s a job though that can also be rewarding and says the staff they do have right now have really stepped up to keep things running smoothly.

“We have to have a staff to take care of them {inmates} and we have to look out for them like you do your children at home,” he said. “For some of them, it’s like they are children because they don’t want to do anything for themselves, we have to do it all.”

Lt. Chevette Williams has worked with Dorchester inmates for over 20 years and describes her day-to-day life as unpredictable.

“Some days it’s easy, some days it’s harder, some days it’s smooth,” she said. “It’s like everyday life because you’re dealing with everyday people, humans.”

Williams explains it can be challenging at times.

“People are coming to jail, who wants to go to jail?” Williams said. “Everybody has a different attitude, a different take on it and we have to remember that it’s not us, because sometimes they come and they take it out on us and we’re humans as well.”

Williams said you develop skills on the job, and she wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.

According to the job postings online, the starting salary for a certified detention officer is $42,900.61, and uncertified is $40,857.73.

Knight said insurance benefits, leave time and overtime opportunities come with the job, but strict standards must be passed in order to get hired.

That includes a background check, polygraph test, drug screening and more.

To apply for the certified detention officer, click here.

To apply for the uncertified detention officer, click here.