Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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February 19, 2014

Jail staffing remains a problem

Corsicana — The Navarro County Sheriff’s Office hasn’t solved its understaffing problem, but the Navarro County Commissioners Court did approve a $50,000 budget transfer last week to the budget to help keep the jail operating legally.

“Five months into the fiscal year, we’d exhausted our budget for overtime in the jail,” said Sheriff Elmer Tanner. “At this point in time we’re doing everything we can to get personnel hired within the facility so we can stop this issue of overtime.”

The sheriff’s office has about 17 unfilled positions as of Feb. 15, primarily in the jail and on patrol. In addition, the jail population is up, Tanner said.

“In June we were averaging 199 (prisoners per day), and we average 230 every day lately,” Tanner said. “With the amount of unfilled positions here and the state mandate on the amount of officers per prisoner, it’s necessary to have the amount of overtime to keep the facility staffed and running.”

Commissioner Jason Grant, who has been a police officer, said overtime is both a good and bad thing for the officers.

“Truthfully, every police officer I know works at least two jobs anyway. There’s officers who want all the overtime they can get, and some who don’t want it at all,” Grant said.

“Certainly, we (commissioners) would prefer no overtime,” Grant said. “My personal preference would be to get Sheriff Tanner to full staff where we’re not paying overtime. But if we paid more (salary-wise) we wouldn’t need so much overtime.”

If the sheriff can’t find more qualified people for the jobs, he’ll continue to pull overtime, Grant said.

“I look for him to come back and have to add to his overtime budget again,” he said.

The money for the budget transfer came from the sheriff’s deputy salary budget.

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” to this article? Email: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

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