AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Law enforcement agencies throughout the CSRA are facing staffing shortages. Deputies are retiring and leaving law enforcement. Agencies say they are not receiving enough applications to fill the spots. Some believe the public’s negative view toward law enforcement is fueling this.
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“It’s difficult during these times with the narrative of law enforcement,” Lt. Col. Calvin Chew of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office says.
“Whether it’s the negativity that some communities have with their law enforcement officers, that negative relationship has been viewed and shown across the nation,” Capt. Randall Norman with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office adds.
The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office currently has 85 job openings. Lt. Col. Calvin Chew tells NewsChannel 6 about 63 people are hired a year on average, making this year’s numbers significant. The office has set up a team tasked with recruiting future deputies over the coming months.
“There are a lot of agencies in just the CSRA. We’re all vying for the same candidates.”
“We’re not in a critical stage by any means,” he adds. “However, we have to cut back. We do a lot of overtime. A lot of our deputies are working a lot more than they normally do.”
The Burke County Sheriff’s Office is experiencing a shortage as well. It began a continuous recruitment program over the last year, allowing the office to continuously accept applications. However, Capt. Randall Norman says the office will not hire just anyone.
“If you’re just looking for a job, we don’t want you. we dont want you. we dont need you.
For the Burke and Richmond County Sheriff’s Offices, it comes down to commitment — commitment to the agency and those they serve.
“We’re looking for good character and morals,” Chew says.
“If you’re looking to come in and make a difference, absolutely we want you,” Norman adds.