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Cole County works to reduce jail staffing shortage


Cole County is working to reduce its staffing shortage at the jail. This week the county commission approved a change to how jail staff are paid while on call.

An officer is paid one hours salary while on call for the day and will receive overtime pay if called in. Two officers are on-call at any given time.

“Let’s say you were paid $25 an hour,” said Presiding Commissioner Sam Bushman. “I’m just using that figure. You would be paid $25 to be on call which means you’re not going to be able to go to a football game, you’re not going to be able to go to the lake.”

Bushman said a staff member must stay within 30 minutes of the jail while on call.

“It’s not necessarily the most glamorous job. We’ve increased the salaries, and we need good people,” he said. “We have good people, we just need more of them.”

He said jails staff make a salary of about $30,000. Currently, the jail has 55 employees and 14 vacant positions, an improvement from 19 vacancies this past summer.

A staff member might get called into work if a prisoner is taken to the hospital because a deputy must accompany them for transport and during their stay, Bushman said.

The inmate population can impact the need for staffing, and Bushman said the jail averages 150 to 160 inmates each day.

The new pay policy will last through the end of the year.

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Copyright 2019 KMIZ

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